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Fifty years ago the 15th of last Au- 
gust a boy living over the ridge in 
the town of Gilmailton, now the town 
of Dover, Buffalo County, enlisted in 
the 25th Wisconsin Reg'ment to go 
south and fight for the Union of the 
States and for the freedom of the 
slaves. He was below the age of con- 
sent by two years, being ibut 16 years 
of age, tout he was strong and some- 
thiing told him he wanted to be a 

He had talked with returning sol- 
diers who were home for brief visits 
and in his dreams he saw himself 
dressed in a beautiful blue suit be- 
spangled with bright brass buttons, 
gold braid on the seams of his trous- 
ers and dn his hat l)and a streaming 
ostrich plume with sundry gilt decor- 
ation of guns and bugles. His father 
was an Abolitionist and his earnest 
talks at the talble and the fire side, 
of his hope that the war would never 
cease till the slaves were free, had 
set the boy to thinking. There came 
daily into his musdng a pity for the 
hopeless slave. 

G. Y. Fieeman of GalesviUle an en- 
listing oflicer for the government, 
came to the home of the boy on the 
date albove named, the 15th of Au- 
gust, and he was enlisted for three 
ears, or for the war. 

The boy's mother when asked for 
her consent burst into tears and walk- 
ed out of the room. The father mere- 
ly bowed his consent. 

At a farewell dinner given in Ful- 
ler's Grove, Gilmanton on the eve of 
his departure in company with others 
to join his regiment, his father bid 
the boy good bye with this injunc- 
tion; "Remember your grandfathei 
was a soldier of the war of 1S12 and 
never turned his back on the enemy. 
And don't forget there are four mil- 
lion slaves whose hope of liberty i3 
at stake in this war. There is a 
wicked law on the statue books 
which makes it the duty of the sol- 
dier to return runaway slaves to their 
masters. Don't mind that law. If you 
see a slave flying from his master 
with the master in p-ursuit, take good 
aim and shoot the master amd help 
the slave to freedom. 

During the two years and nine 
months service this iboy wrote many 
letters to his mother,father and both- 
er and sister. They were written in 
health and in sickness, from camp, 
from battle field from hospital. They 
were written iby a boy who could 
shoot with deadly accuracy, but who 
could not spell good and who knew 
nothing of grammer. These letters 
were all preserved by an over fond 
mother. This Soldier Boy, now an 
old gentleman has consented to let 
lis print the entire collection of let- 
ters for the reading of the News 
patrons. We hope they may ple;ise 
our readers. The first letter is piint- 
(m1 in this week's issue. 


To a boy away in the hills, whose 
companionship was his dog and the 
Indians who had not yet vanished in- 
to narrow reservations, came the call 
of his country. He was only 16, hut 
the resire of service was in him. 
Leaving his Tiome, he volunteered. 
But iheing a dutiful son he wrote let- 
ters to his parents. These letters are 
full of human interest. He had no 
edircational advantages, but these 
letters liave the literary instinct in 
them and will repay persual. They 
are human documents. This is the 
first: — 
Camp 'Soloman, La Crosste, Wis., 

«d. Quarters 25th Wis. Vol. Inft. 
Sept. 15th 18C2. 

Dear parents: I am sitting on the 
straw in my tent with my paper on a 
trunk for a desk, this is Monday, be- 
fore breakfast that I am writing you. 
This has been a very busy wieek for 
the soldiers. 

We did not get throngli mustering 
until last evening which as you know 
was Sunday. The mustering officer 
was here all day, and he was a fierce 
looking fellow. Any how thats the 
way bo looked to ^is younger boys 
that couldn't swear we was 18. We 
had to muster in all the snme, if it 
was 'Sunday. Some of the boys tho't 
it was a Iwd omen, and meant bad 
liJck. We were not exactly mustered 
in because we did not get our )>ay, 
but the comiianios were drawn up in 
line, one at a time, and the office- 
with his hands behind his back, walk- 
ed along ten feet or feo in front of the 
line looking every man in the face. 

Every one he suspicioned of being 
under 18, he womld ask his age. He 
turned out a lot of them that were 
not quite 18. Some of them that 
might have been old enough, were 
getting home sick and was glad to 
get out of it by fibbing a little. See- 
ing how it was working with the rest, 
I did not know what to do. I went to 
see our captain but he said he could 
not help me. He said his interceding 
wouild do no good." I saw our Chap- 
lain and he told me to tell the truth, 
that I was a little past 16, and he 
th'^.'t that when the mustering of- 
fici saw my whiskers he would not 
a ; c my age. That is what the bovs 
all told me but I was afraid. I had 
;ibout made up my mind to tell h'm 
T was going on 19 years, but thank 
heaven I did not have a chance to lie. 
He did not ask my age. I am all 
right and the boys were right. Say 
do you know the sweat was run- 
ning down my legs into my boots, 
when that fellow came down the line, 
and I was looking hard at the ground 
Tfteen paces in front. 

I suppose I am a full fledged soldict 
now. I have got my uniform and 
that awful mulstering officer has gone. 
While I am writing, the fife and 
drums are playing again ;how I wish 
you could come down and see the 
soldiers. To see a thousand soldiers 
on regimental drill or parade is wha 
visitors call a splendid sight. Hun 
dreds of people in La Crosse com 
out to see us every evening. Ther 
was about five hundred visitors here 
last night to see us on dress parade. 
Oen. Pope got off here last Saturday 
evening and we expected to see him 



■m -^ \^^^ 

in camp l)iit he did not come. I was 
in town the evening he came but my 
pass did not last long enough to see 
the General. But I saw some of his 
aids. Chester Ide's wife came from 
Mondovi yesterday. There is hun- 
dreds of other things I could speak 
of but I don't have paper or time to 
mention them. But there is one more 
thing 1 have to tell you, we are to 
start for Cineinnatti next Thursday, 
so if you can come down before that 
time you will find me here. 
• We are to g€t our money tomorrow 
and if we do I will get my i)icture 
taken. We got our guns yesterday. 
If you write at once, direct to La 
Crosse Wisconsin. 

Your loving son, 


P. S. The boys that were rejected 
lit out last night and took their uni- 
forms with them. 

Headquarters, 25th Wise. 
La Crossie, Wis, Sept. 20, 1862. 

Dear parents: One more week has 
gone and we are still in La Crosse. 
Our daily stunt is to drill four hours 
a day. Our drill master is a nice lit- 
tle fellow. He has been sent to us to 
drill us and will l)e made our 2nd 
lieutenant, He is a proi<d bugger in 
his ibrand new suit of blue with gold 
cord on his legs and shoulder strai)s 
and he walks so darn straight he 
leans backward. But he's a good one. 

There is not a man luit would be 
too glad if we h«d orders to march 
for Dixie tomorrow. Its awful tire- 
some staying here doing nothing It's 
harder work than farming. The Gov- 
ernor telegraphed to the Colonel of 

the regiment yesterday that we were 
liable to get orders to go up the river 
to Fort Snelling by boat and sent in- 
to the Sioux Indian country. There 
is a boy 14 years old here in camp, 
who oame from above St. Paul, wliose 
father was murdered by the Indians 
ten rods from him last week. The 
boy escaped by crawling under a 
tiridge and waiting till a team came 
along. He came to St. Paul and 
worked his way down on a steamiboat 
to this place. 

I haven't been homesick a minute. 
I like drilling pretty well and our 
Bob, that is the name of our lieuten- 
ant, says we step up like regulars. 
Please exause these short letters. 
Tell George Wooster to write and T 
will answer him. Also tell sister Do 
to add a line when you write. 

Is she catching any fish these days? 
I hope trapping will ibe good this fa'l 
so father can make a little extra 
change. Are the pigeons in the stub- 
ble like they were last fall when T 
shot 19 at one crack? My goodness, 
how I would like a pigeon pot pie. 
Tell father he will find a lot of shor 
in the old leather knife case on that 
shelf in the entry way. They are 
some I bought last year when Fred 
Rosman and I were going to get rich 
shooting prairie chickens and selling 
them to the steam boats. I wish we 
could get our money so I could come 
home a few days. I sui>por.e you got 
my picture. How do I look as a 
soldier? I tell you it looks military 
like to see the fellows in their regu- 
lation 'blue. 

Write often as you can convenient- 
ly, anything from home seems good 

P.S. I have reopened this letter to 
say we have orders to report at onco 
to St. Paul. I think we will start in 
the morning. Don't write till I can 
give you my address. 

Let the following letter speak for 

La Crosse, Wis., Sept. 21, 18G2. 

Dear Mother: 

I wrote you yesterday we had or- 
ders to report to St. Paul to fight the 
Sioux Indians, in Minnesota. Sure 
enough we are packing things and 
will leave here in the morning on the 
big sidewheel steamer St. Paul for 
up river. Some of the boys are mad 
and some are glad. Some say they 
did not enlist to fight Indians hut to 
fight rebels, hmt military orders must 
be obeyed. If I thought the youns 
Bioux chief who has been to our place 
so many times with his hunting party 
who was so good to us, letting us 
have elk meat and venison for a little 
of nothing, I should not like to think 
of shooting at them. I remember 
father said, if a few Indian contract- 
ors were scalped, there would be no 
trouble. I read last night in the pa- 
per a letter from Bishop Whipple of 
iMinnesota, who said the government 
had not kept its promise with the 
Indians, that they had no blankets 
and no rations of beef, and that was 
the reason they went on the war 
path. The bow and arrows the chief's 
son gave me, I wish you would see 
that they are not lost. I don't be- 
lieve Indian John stole Mr. Cripps's 
gun. He Is a good Indian and if he 
is not killed in the war he will bring 
it back. 

I will finish this in the morning. 

Sept. 21st. I am sitting on the 
hurricane deck of the St. Paul Steam- 
er where our Company has been as- 
signed for the trip to Fort Snelling. 
We were an hour filing on board the 
boat this morning. Everybody is 
feeling good. Some of them are 
happier than they ought to 'be. Bill 
Anderson and some of the Mondovi 
boys are pretty well loaded. Chet 
Ide doesn't drink, but he is laughing 
lou/fler at the fellows who do drink 
Gile Bump of Mondovi, and I crawled 
under the ledge over the cabin to get 
in the shade. The boat has an awful 

A thousand men with all the fix- 
tures and equipment. There is not 
room to lie down! The band is kept 
pretty busy. ' Whenever we pass a 
boat or reach a town the band 
pounds and blows for all it's worth. 
The women and girls wave their 
handkerchiefs, and every fellow 
thinks it's meant for him . I'll bet 
there never was so jolly a crew on 
this boat befoi'e. When the boat 
stopped at Winona, some of the boys 
took a high dive from the top of the 
wheel house into the river. I never 
thought they would come up again 
but they did, and swam back to the 
yawl and climbed into that and were 
l)ulled up by ropes onto the boiler 
deck. We have just passed Fountain 
City and I must close this letter so 
as to mail it at .Mma. The boat 
stops at every town, hut no soldier is 
allowed to step off the boat. We 
have just passed a raft and the way 
the logs teeter in the waves is a 
wonder. The fellows shake their fists 

and yell dirty, hoodhitn stuff, but the 
hoys in hlue give it back to them in 

Tell Elder Morse's folks that 
Henry is well and spoiling for a fight. 

Dear Mother. — •! missed the Alma 
boat and so I'll add a few lines more. 
We reached St. Paul and everybody 
was on the shore to greet us. They 
are mighty glad to have soldiers 
come as the Indians are gathering in 
big forces, and there may be bloody 
times. After waiting for orders we 
steamed on to Fort Snelling six miles 
above, and after landing in the bush- 
es at the mouth of the Minnesota 
River, we climbed the high bluff 
where the Fort is located. They call 
this fort the American Gibralter, if 
you can guess the meaning, steep 
wall nearly round it, and some big 
black cannons pointing in all direc- 

I tell you those cannons have a 
wicked look. They are the first I 
have ever seen. I have just discov- 
ered I have a two-dollar counterfeit 
bill, so I am on half rations for mon- 
ey. We got our knapsacks this even- 
ing, and expect to start up the Min- 
nesota and Mississippi Rivers to 
hunt Indians in a day or two. 

Wish you would make me a pair 
of two fingered mittens, it would 
save me $1.50; make them out of thin 
bmrkskin. There is a lot of buck In- 
dians in the stone jail of the for^, 
who are guarded. They are some of 
the ring leaders, who incited the 
massacre. One of them looks just 
like One Eye, who staid ground our 

I)lace so much. CHAUNCEY. 

Direct to Co. G., Ft. Snelling. 

The letter that follows is interest- 
ing in its reference to Minneapolis, 
"a pretty town at the Falls of St. 
.\nthony", now grown into a mighty 

St. Cloud, Minn., Oct 2, 1862. 
Co. G. 25th Regt. 
[>ear parents: 

In my last I wrote you of our 
arrival at Fort Snelling and that we 
were to march into the Indian Coun- 
try in a day or two. Fort Snelling 
is a fine place and I hadn't got tired 
of it when orders came to divide 
our Regiment, the right wing to go 
up the Minnesota river and the left 
wing up the Mississippi. Our Co. 
is in the left wing so we came up 
the Mississippi river. The first night 
after quitting Ft. Snelling we camp- 
ed in the edge of Minneapolis, a 
pretty town at the Falls of St. An- 
thony. St. Anthony, just across the 
river, has some nice big buildings 
and is the biggest place. It was aw- 
fully hot the day we left the fort 
and our extra blankets and belts 
full of amunition made a load. But 
we felt good and after su|pper I 
scuffled with Casper Meuli and Max 
Brill tin bed time. I know father 
advised me not to do any wrestling. 
'but a fellow cant say no all the time. 
A lot of uy rolled up in our blankets 
under the trees on the bank of a 
creek with no tents that night. A 
lot of women or igirls from town 
came into camp and walked over us 
as if we were logs. I thot they were 
pretty fresh. Some of the older 

soldiers talked pretty plain to thenn 
but they didn't seem to care. After 
while they were ordered away am? 
then we went to sleep. The next 
night and the night after I slept in 
barns on the hay. The people seem- 
ed to be Germans but they were 
good and .^ave us all they had of 
milk and bread. The boys would 
gather like pigs round a milk pan, 
three or four drinking at the same 
time. We came into St. Cloud last 
night. We crossed the Mississippi 
here. It isn't the mighty stream 
here that it is at Alma, I oould 
throw a stone across and hit a dog 
up here. These people gave lis a 
warm welcome. Some of our boys 
came down with the measles and 
will go into hospital quarters until 
they 'get 'well. I have a queer sort of 
feeling, perhaps its measles with 
me. You know I never was sick. 
WTien the surgieon examined me in 
La Crosse he hit me a slap and told 
me I had a constitution like a horse 
1 told him my living for some years 
had been buck meat, beaver's tails 
and bear flesh. He said, you are a 
tough one, that is i)lain to see. I am 
sitting on a big rock on the bank of 
the Mississippi. It seems strange 
that this clear beautiful stream is 
the same yellow broad river that runs 
so near my home. As I write I am 
using a fine tooth comb and T am 
finding bugs. I don't know where I 
got them, but I've got them. I was 
ashamed to be seen combing in camp 
so I came down behind the big rocks 
by the river. The other boys must 
have them. No Indians yet. The 
old settlers tell us the buffalos were 
here but a few years ago. I have 

seen some of their horns, sharp, 
black wicked things. Their trails 
can be seen on the praries and along 
the liver banks. I remember father 
saying the buffaloes and Indiana 
would disappear about the same time. 
Pot hunters would slay the buffaloes 
for their skins, and the white man's 
whiskey was as surely slaying the 
Indian. Tomorrow we take up our 
march to Richmiond, twenty miles 
away. I will write you then. 
Your son 

P. S. Tell father not to brag so 
much on Webster as a speller. I 
know I am not in his class quite, 
'but I have bouglit me a pocket dic- 
tionary and I am studying it every 
day. Our Chaplain came along last 
night and saw me with it. He stop- 
ped and looked at it; well, he said 
it is next thing to a testament any- 
how. Good bye. 

Remember that these are the let- 
ters of a boy. How many boys there 
were in that terrible war who on 
beds of sickness yearned for the 
mother-care off home! This boy has 
opinions of his own, opinions des- 
tined to deepen with age. Later on 
Hhe pen grown polished with use 
was destined to voice the demand 
for justice to the dispossesed Indian 
and enfranchised negro. 

St. Cloud Hospital, St. Cloud, Minn- 
Oct. 20th. 1862. 
Dear mother, father and all the rest. 

I am writinig you from a sick bed 
propped up on the back of a chair 
made soft with pillows. You must 
think it strange that you have got 
no letters these three weeks but if 

you knew how fearfully sick I have 
been you would understand. I have 
been a mighty sick boy with the 
measles all this time in a big room 
in the city building along with ten 
other of my comrades. Three others 
of my Co. are here. Andy Adams, 
one of my chums from Mondovi. is 
one of them and he has been veiv 
sick. I tell you mother it is a ter 
rible thing to be sick amon? stra:!S- 
ers anyway. I've tho't of hdme and 
you so many times. Maybe if I had 
ever been sick before it would not 
have seemed so bad, but I want to 
tell you my dear mother, I never 
want to be sick away from you. The 
\\omen of the town came in every 
day to give nice things to eat and 
make lemonade for us but they were 
all strange and new ones came near- 
ly every day. They were kind, of 
course but O, I don't know. I felt 
if they were thinking more of their 
nice clofhes and how fine they looked 
than of us. They wouldn't give me 
all the water I wanted, and I was 
always so thirsty. I just dreamed 
all the time. I don't want to talk 
like a baby mother, and the boys 
say, "Don't write any bad news to 
your father and mother," but you 
have always told me I should tell the 
truth and I believe its all right. God 
knows I never felt before what it 
meant to have a good home and a 
kind father and dear mother. And 
for these nearly three weeks on my 
back, I have thought of you all more 
than a hundred times. What a nice 
thing is a igood home. Don't think 1 
am home sick mother, you know I 
can say all these things and still n')t 

be homesick. When a fellow is sick 
and all broke up he can't help saying 
soft things. But I know if you had 
been here or I had been there 1 
should not be where I am. Some of 
the fellows here are awful rough in 
their talk. They wasn't very sick 
and they are joking me and a young 
fellow in Co. E. because we are talk- 
ing so much about our home and our 
mothers. I don't deny that I long 
to see my dear mother, and when 
the tears come into his eyes I know 
the poor boy that lays next to me 
is thinking of home too. 

Don't think for a minute mother, 
that I am dying. I am getting bet- 
ter and in a few days will rejoin my 
CJo.. which is now at Ridhmond, 
about 20 miles from here. It will 
seem like going home almost, to get 
back to my dear old Company. The 
nights are getting freezing cold and 
they tell me the lakes are covered 
with ice, and lately I dreamed of lay- 
ing on my stomach and drinking 
cold icewater through the air holes. 
I suppose it's because I am always 
so dry. 

They say that a few days ago 
three hundred soldiers came down 
from Ft. Abercrombie, 130 miles 
from here. They left everything 
quite, in fact the Indian war seems 
at an end unless the upper Sioux 
turn on us. 

Colonel Sibley has recovered all 
the white prisoners and nearly 2.000 
Indian prisoners. The question 
seems to be whether to let the Sioux 
remain or drive them from the 
homes of their ancestors into some 
western reservation. It seems like- 


ly that they will be driven away. 
Mother this whole Indian question 
is wrong. Laying on my sick bed 
here, I can't help thinking of the 
wrong doing of the government to- 
ward the Indians. I am losing heart 
in tshis war againstl thei Indians. 
When you come to think that all 
this ibeautiful country along the Min- 
nesota river was bought for 2 centos 
an acre and that the government 
still owes them this pitiful sum for 
it, I am sorry for them. The boys 
tell me I am no better than an In- 
dian when I talk about it, but I can't 
help it. God made this country and 
gave it to the Indians. After a while 
along comes Columlbule with his 
three code shell boats, takes posses- 
sion of all the continent in the name 
of the Almighty, Queen Isabelle of 
Spain and the Indians are treated 
as wild beasts. I often think as I 
have heard father say, "if this is 
the spirit of the present Christianity, 
God will dam it. 

I don't expect we will have a brush 
with the Indians unless we go farth- 
er west. The boys at Richmond are 
having good times, hunting deer and 
bear and catching fish. The lakes 
are clear and cool and full of fish. 

We don't know where we are to 
winter, likely as not just where we 
are. My dear mother 1 am out of 
money. I haven't got the three dol- 
lars yet I wrote for the last time. 
I got to borrow a stamp to send this 
letter, but its alright. Mother, how 
does the new house come on? Have 
you got in it yet? Have you dug the 
potatoes yet? Does brother W. kill 
many prairie chickens this fall, or 

hasn't he got any ammunition? Has 
father igot the stable plastered up 
warm? The bUle clay in the bottom 
of the creek is all right for that. 

Mother, don't you hate to leave the 
dear old cabin this winter for the 
new house? I love to think of that 
best of beds under those long oak 
shingles warped and twisted, thai 
let in the rain and snow in my face. 
I would give all this world if I owned 
iti, if I could sleep there tonight. 
Did the corn get ripe? Has father 
broke the colts? Has brother W. 
broke the steers so they can haul 
things? How is father Cartwright? 
Has father killed any game this fall, 
what is it? Mother, as to the money 
T sent home, I want you or father to 
use it for anything you want. All I 
want is the first payment on that 
land so that is clear I dion't care for 
the rest. You must get some apple 
trees if you have not already, and 
get a stand of bees. You ought to 
raise your own honey. I would like 
very much to hear from you mother. 
I haven't heard from home since I 
left La Crosse, I do not complain. 
There may be letters some where for 
me. Remember mother, a letter m 
your own hand writing. Lo've to all, 
to yourself, father, brothers and sis. 

Your soldier boy. 


New Richmond, Minn., 

Hd. Quarters Co., G. 2.5th Regt. 

Wis., Vol. Tnft. October 2Sth. 

Dear folks at home: Since my 

last you see I have made a chanige. 

I am now with the company at New 

Richmond. Andy Adams of Mondovi 
and one of the Mann brothres and 
my self came up in one of the Well's 
Fargo stages. The captain ordered 
us to the hotel as he tho't we was 
not strong enough for camp yet. I 
got your last letter the day before 
we left St. Cloud and what you told 
me about exposing myself after hav- 
ing the measles scared me just a bit. 
I had been walking about for three 
days and when I crossed the streets 
the wind was cold and so strong it 
would nearly throw me down and 1 
had nothing but my summer drawers 
Our women nurses didn't warn us a 
bit, but told me I should go out and 
get strength. I was glad enough to 
get lOut doors once more, I think ! 
am getting all right. I was pretty 
sick the doctor told me, just as if I 
didn't know my own feelings. The 
Ladies Aid Society was real kind. 
One old lady who did not belong to 
the society would come nearly every 
day with some sour candy and give 
it to all of us because our mouths 
tasted bad of the fever. She said she 
had a dear boy somewhere in the 
South and she hoped some one would 
be good to her boy if he got sick. 

I tell you it seemed awful good to 
see the faces of my old chums. T 
had been away from them nearly 
four weeks and it seemed that manv 

They are busy building log houses 
to winter in. They are building 18 
houses for store buildings and 
quarters. It is getting cold and the 
weather makes them hustle. The 
'boys are still in tents thlo it is freez- 
ing every jiigbt The rest of the 

left wing have goi^e up to Paynsville 
to winter, four comi)anies. I woke 
up tbis morning with a pain in my 
stomach. I told Elder Harwood of 
it and he told me not to eat any more 
biscuit before going to bed. We have 
a nice hotel and lots to eat and I am 
hungry all the time. They give us 
wild rice, bo't of the Indians, twice 
a day, and it is good. The Landlord 
said it was nearly gone and the In- 
dians were gone and he didn't know 
when he ciould get any more. I like 
to hear him talk about the Indians. 
He said they had been cheated and 
lied to by the government contrac- 
tors, and that bro't on all the trouble. 
He said he lived amongst them all 
his life and they were good people 
unless they were drunk. 

T have lost fifteen and a half 
Iiounds in weight the three weeks 
past. I forgot to tell you I found 
a letter from you dated the 10th here 
in the Captain's hands. He forgot 
to send it to me. I am glad father 
has such good luck killing deer and 
bear this fall. Thank goodness oM 
dog Prince was close by when tbn 
bear made that rush for father. He 
no doubt saved father's life. I hope 
the poor dog's jaw is not broken. 
The bear's jaw of course was too 
strong for him. Don't skim the milk 
for dear old Prince, give it to him 
with the cream on until he can eat 
meat. We have bear and doer close 
to this place but you will be'ieve me. 
I would dearly like to be with father 
in his hunts, long enougli at lea^t to 
help him kill two or three fat bears. 
Don't fear but I will be careful 
dear mother of my health, you scar- 


ed me when you explained about 
cousin Ben's death a month after he 
got up from the measles. I have had 
the measles, and "theys done gone" 
as Topsey said, in TJncle Tom's 

Rumors of Indians coming back 
on the war path is the talk among 
the boys in the hotel tonight. The 
sky Is all lighted up some ten mile.s 
away by prairie fires tonight. The 
boys say it means Indians. My 
room is about 8 iby 10 feet and th!i 
light from the prairie fire makes a 
shadow on the wall. Some of the 
boys talk like they wanted dread- 
fully to get into a scrimmage with 
the Sioux. It must be I aint a good 
soldier, I dont think it is fear, but I 
am all the time thinking of One Eye 
and his son and wife that came to 
our house so many times to get flour 
and coffee, and the times I played 
with their boys and sat on their buf- 
falo robes and ate elk steak and Ten- 
sion steak by their wigwam fires. 
You know we w'ondered that they 
never came back any more, and fath- 
er said they were afraid of their 
lives because the Dacotas and Min- 
nesota Sioux had declared war and 
to save their lives they had gone 

I don't deny that I sometimes 
think of Owena, the Chiefs daughter 
that father plagued me about, and 
wonder where she is. 

Bishop Whipple says the govern- 
ment has never kept its word of pay- 
ment for the land and the rations 
promised the Indians. That man 
Whipple must be another William 
Penn. He has always been the In- 

dian's friend in Minnesota. I read 
in the Sentinel yesterday that he had 
•visited the W!hite House in Wash- 
ington and plead with President 
Lincoln with tears in his eyes that 
the government ishonld pay these 
Sioux their iJromised Ennuity and 
that would stop the war. Why don't 
they do it? I am a white man's son 
and I like my own people but can 
never forget what Chief One Eye 
told me in his wigwam on the Three 
mile creek that the white chief at 
Washington was a liar because they 
never got their annuity and their 
beef was tough and unfit to eat. 

I hope father will not sell my 40 
even at a hundred dollars profit. I 
like Wisconsin best of all yet. 

They are all in bed but me, so 
good night. 

Your boy, 


New Richmond, Minn., 

Co. G. 25th. Regt. 
Nov. 4th. 1862. 
Dear sister Doe: Your favor or 
Oct. 2.5th rec'd yesterday. It seemed 
so good to m^e that I read it over 
twice before stopping. I am just like 
other sioldiers I suppose, crazy to get 
letters from dear ones at home. I 
wrote mother only a day or two ago 
but that makes no difference, I am 
iglad for an excuse to write home. 
I told mother that I did not expect 
to leave St. Clioud for some days 
but we left the next day in one of 
those big Well's Fargo coaches you 
told me so much about. We hai 
four horses on the coach and they 
trotted nearly all the way 20 miles 


to this place. I found the boys fat 
as pigs except them that were sick 
with measles. Siome ten or a dozen 
were sick. 

You said you received $10 in one 
of my letters? I sent $30 dollars al- 
together in the two letters. I also 
sent my clothes. Did you get them? 

It is now quite certain we will win- 
ter here as they have commenced 
building cabins. It is about 225 
miles from home, just a nice sleigh 

I could get home for about $7 but 
that would buy a good many things 
you need this coming winter, and 
may 'be I could not get away. Be 
good enough to send me the Tribune, 
or the Milwaukee Sentinel. We 
don't have anything here to read 
but dutch papers. I want to get 
some papers or books this winter 
and maybe you better send me a few 
dollars. I was to good when I sent 
the last money to father and I shall 
be short before my next pay day 
which is in December. I am real 
glad you are making such headway 
in your books. You are father's 
girl alright. Do you know sister, I 
used to think father was a curious 
kind of person because he differed 
with so many people, and I didn't 
know what to think about it, but I 
know now our father is a sensible 
man. Tie opened my eyes about this 
Indian question which I am finding 
every day to be true, and I believe 
his oj)inion about the slave holders 
to be just as true. I cannot forget his 
words in the grove at Rufus F'uller's 
when we started for Alma after that 
ibig dinner. He said, "be true to 

your country my boy, and be true to 
the flag, but before your country or 
the fla«g ibe true to the slave." I 
never saw tears in father's eyes be- 

I am still in the tavern. I bought 
siome packs the other day and paid 
$3.00 for them, a big price but I had 
to have them. Tell father to pick up 
a chopper if he can find one and set 
him to work at my expense in the 
big timber over northeast. We need 
a lot more rails. We need to keep 
dark about timber until we get 
some logs out of it. Cut the logs 
and mark them together and I will 
split them my self if I ever get ba^k. 
Nobody knows of the timber but Mr. 
Amidon and nobody will ever touch 
it. Mr. Amidon got a dozen or so 
logs there last winter, for the mill. 
I counted the stumps last spring 
when I speared those beaver there 
last spring. 

Poor old dog Prince and I had a 
lot of fun on that creek. How is 
Prince getting on from that fight 
with that bear? I wish father would 
be more careful in shooting at bears. 
Prince may not always be near by to 
lock jaws with the black devils. I 
often think of the night I slept with 
Prince in my arms in Traverse Val- 
ley. The fire had gone out and It 
was dark as tar. When a fox would 
bark he would tremble and raise h's 
head and growl. When that deer 
snorted in the brush and run he near- 
ly scared me to death as he jumiied 
out from the blanket and run after 
him. Give the old dog a hug for me. 
There is lots of game here and I 
wish I had old Prince with me. 


Obed Billiard and 1 have bo"t a 
lot of traps and soon as T get strong 
I am going to set them. The boys 
have shot a lot of rats and minks 
with their muskets. 

The news came just now that Mc- 
riel'aii h;id captured :!0.00a rebs and 
had cornered the rest of Ijee's army, 
and the war was at an end. We hear 
things like this nearly every day. 
Nobody believes it. 

Your brother, 

This letter mentions names that 
wiJll be locally familiar. It is but a 
week or so ago that Obed Hilliard 

Ft. Wildcat, Richmond, Minn. 
Nov. inth. 1Sfi2. 

Dear mother: I believe my last 
was written to Doe, any way I will 
write this time to you. I like letters 
from father and Sister Doe, too, aw- 
ful well, but if you could hear what T 
hear every day about things and per- 
sons at home, you would hear the 
fathers talked about and you would 
hear that the sisters and brothers 
were nice people, 'but the mothers in 
the daily talk of the soldiers are the 
best persons in the world. Well 
now this may souhd like T am home- 
sick but I ain't. T was going to say, 
we are to have inisi)ection of arms in 
a little while and T tho't T would put 
in the time until then writing. The 
snow fell to the depth 5 inches last 
night and the woods this forenoon 
was full of soldiers hunting deer. 
A bear was seen by one of the boys 
but nothing but some partridges and 
rabbits was killed, Until day before 

yeisterday the lakes were full of 
ducks and geese. I never saw so 
many ducks. The boys have killed 
lots of them. I purchased a pair of 
moccasins, paid $3.'50 for them, a 
big price but had to have them. 1 
want to do some shooting pretty 
soon. The orderly has informed us 
that there will be no inispection of 
arms. I noticed in the Sentinel that 
(lilmanton was exempt from draft. 
That is all the Gilmanton folks want- 
ed, so they said. Now we will see 
how much those moneyed ones will 
give now that they are in no danger 
of draft. I was out on drill day be 
fore yesterday, the first time in six 

The cabins are nearly done and I 
shall be glad to get out of the hotel 
with the Iboys altho I like things 
here. The commissary building is 
full of ibeef, pork and flour and good 
things to eat. The c'ompany will be 
divided into squads with a cook for 
each squad. Obed Hilliard is the 
cook for our squad, Obe and I are in 
partnership in trapping. The lakes 
and the Sioux river that runs by our 
camp are full of mink and rats. T 
found a big black mink in a trap of 
gne of the other boys last night just 
below camp. His hide was wforth $S. 
I was half tempted to take him out. 
The boys are playing just these 
tricks every day on each other. I 
nearly forgot to tell you I had bowel 
trouble the other day and Serpjen* 
McKay gave me a dose of burnr 
whiskey. It was the first whiskey ! 
ever drank. It helped my bowel 
trouble and I suppose from what the 
boys tell me it made me do some 


strange things. Men Bump and Cliet 
llde of Mondovi have been laughing 
at me and telling me that I was a 
shame to old toppers that I talked 
stiilff and got out Bill Mill's drum 
and pounded it. Anyway I am alright 
now. I have no more news to write 
thiis time. Mr. Ball sends his respects 
tio Mr. Cartwright, and Mr. McKay 
sends his regards to father. 

I was just closing this letter when 
one of the boys came into my room 
and told me the Indians were burn- 
ing Paynsville, where the other four 
companies of the left wing are post- 
'ed. I went to the window and sure 
enough there was a big light on the 
isky in the directiion of Paynesville. 
I have been waiting a half hour for 
later news. If it meant Indians I 
knew we would be notified by 
courier. As we have heard nothing 
it means just a prairie fire, so good 
night mother. 

Your loving boy, 


Richmond, Minn., 

Niov. 20, 1862. 
Dear Parents: — • 

I had no letters the past week but 
look lor one this afternoon. Things 
go on rather quiet most of the time. 
Our log shanties are all finished and 
1 am now wi'th the boys. I'll tell 
you, I am keeping a diary and I will 
give yiou a copy of it for a week in 
this letter: — Nov. 10— Took a shave 
to-day. One of the boys said my 
bf^ard made me look like a ?oat. 
Had my first dinner at the shanty, 
Olip is a cood cook. Supply train 
loaded with i)rovisions went by for 
i:^auk renter and Paynesville. Srmie 
men, trappers I guess, from the Red 
River country went toward St. Cloud, 

they stopped for dinner. Said all 
quiet in the up country. They wore 
leggins like Indians and their stories 
if true, made ihem out more savaige. 
According t^o their talk all Indians 
are red devils. 

Nov. 11 — A nice Indian summer 
day, a smoky, hazy, dreamy day. 
Took my gun and went rat hunting. 
Shiot five but got only four. Came 
back to camp hungry as a dog. Had 
a glorious supiter of beef, bread, po- 
tatoes, cranberry sauce and pie. 

A big supply train bound for Fort 
Abercrombia iiulled in for the night. 
Hen. Pope has ordered all infantry 
south. We may get to see Dixie yet. 
Hurrah! Snow all gone and big 
!)rairie fires to the east to night. 

Nov. 12 — .No letter from home to- 
day, plague on it. Wrote one to Geo. 
Wooster. Beautiful weather. Mea 
Bump just from St. Cloud reports 
mother one of the boys dead from 
measles. I believe I am all right ex- 
cept my wind ain't quite so good on 
a long double quick. Nothing to do, 
vve,nt out and shiot a rat. Some of 
the lakes are covered with rat 
houses thick as hay cocks and as big. 
Sold my hides for 10 cents a piece. 
Boys trying their guns at a mark, 
found a great deal of fault with 
them. I found some papers at the 
hoteil called "The Dacota Friend, " 
that I have been reading. They 
were left by a woman who had been 
stopping This paper was a mission- 
ary paper for the Indians and had 
letters in it from Bishop Whippb^. 
He is certainly a good man. I read 
some of his letters about the hones- 
ty of the Indians when the white 
man was honest with them. It mad,^ 
me think of good old One P^ye and 
his band that came so many times to 
our placn. I sjiioke of Bishop Whip 
tile to the trappers and what he said 
of their honesty, but ihey said Whip 
pie was an old woman in breeches. 

Nov. 13 — T dreamed last night of 
One Eye's band, of the boys that I 


played with, and when we got hun 
gry how we went to Chief Charleys 
tepee and found his mother cleaning 
the entrails of a beaver which she 
intended for sioup. The boy talked 
to her in Sioux and she unfolded 
some burltskins and a robe or two 
pnd pave "s a big hunk of elk steak. 
We put it on the fire and she went 
bark to her job of dressing the bea 
vf-r guts. In my dreams I saw the 
be^'ntiful buffalo ro'es we lay u^ion 
whUe our F'eak was roasting. 1 
could even smell them just as they 
smelt four years ago. 

In this miserable Indian war I 
often wonder what has become of 
I ightfoot (father save him that 
na.nie because he could beat me in a 
race) and of his brothers and of 
Owena. They promised , to come 
bPck in the fall lof 1S«0 whe they 
broke camp the spring before two 
miles b'elow us but they never came. 
I haven't lived long, but long enough 
to think this is a strance world. 
When I think of the Indians and re 
member bow good they were to nic 
and my father and mother, and read 
inig in this "Dacota Fri'^nd" paper 
bow the traders have made them 
drunk in "rder to cheat them, and 
how the government bought HS mil 
Ijon rtrres "^f thrm and has been ow 
ing them for it R-rainst tbeir promisf 
for -0 vears. and because thoy were 
t^tarving and broke into a warehouse 
for food, and this brought on a war, 
I am f^r the Indians as much as the 
whites. ' 

Nov. 14 — Cold and freezing this 
morning. A cannon from Fort .\ber- 
crombia came by this morning. 
They fired it a few times just for 
fun. Obed Hilliard and 1 went hunt 
ing, sibot five rats, lone partridge and 
one rabbit. On return to camp found 
a supply train in corral near us and 
P.OO cavalry as guard. The fife and 
drum were out to-night, in honor 
of our guests T suppose. The visit- 
ors have some big fires going to 
night and the crowds around them 

are very happy. The cavalry men 
who have been on the frontier are 
full of Indian yarns. I don't like 
their talk. If half they tell about 
their own rascally tricks is true, 
there is plenty of reason for the In 
dians to fight and fight to the death. 

Nov. If) — Ther'e was quite a wild 
time last night. Some beer was 
stolen from the saloon and farmers 
came in this morning claiming sol- 
difvrs stole their chickens. The cav- 
alry did it. Our boys denied it and 
I am sure they told the truth. The 
cavalry made quite a show as they 
dashed off after the wagon train. 1 
went to church t'l day, the first time 
in a long while. Cold and freezing 
to-night. I nearly froze my fingers 
on dress parade. 

Nov. 16 — Everythinig froze tight 
this morning. This has been a lone 
some day. Molasses was rationed 
out, the first since we came. It run 
awful slow. Drilled this afternoon. 
Smnv l)egan falling while we were 
drilling. The Colonel arrived from 
Paynesville. I have been reading all 
the evening in Bishop Whipple's pa 
per, "The Dacota Friend.'' I have 
made up my mind the Indians are 
not to blame for this war. It is the 
traders, the contractors, the trap- 
pers and the Indian agents. O, the 
injustire of the strong against the 
weak in this world. 

Nov. 17 18 — Went hmiting deer, no 
luck at all. I shall let the deer go 
to grass hereafter and hunt f'or rab 
bits only. Late this afternoon had 
a tilt snowballing. The boys had a 
lively time dodging my balls. They 
didn't know I had kept a pile of 
stones at every fence corner for 
years for blackbirds, and that a 
blackbird's head at ten steps was an 
easy mark. The ice on the Sioux is 
fine. Bought a pair of skates and 
had a little fun ion them. There is 
a big farmer, a Swede, three miles 
up river with a nice family of boys 
and girls. If the ice is good, will go 
up there in the morning. 


Nov. 19 — Was on the river skating 
all the forenoon. loe not quite safa 
on the rapids. Several of the boys 
on a drunk. Had quite a scrap but 
no lone much hurt. Had a spelling 
school to-night. Word came late to 
uisht that we w^ere to go south in a 
week, hope it is true. 

Your boy, 


Nov. 21. — 'Went out to visit my 
traps and found several of them 
frozen in. Found four rats in the 
traps set in the houses. Most of the 
traps in the run ways except in 
springy places were frozen in. 
Caught a mink near the bridge over 
the 'Sioux in a little siiring. 

This afternoon skated three miles 
up the river to the house of a Swede 
who is one of the first settlers in 
this county. He has a bis family of 
boys and rosy-cheeked girls. 

I ate a late dinner with them. He 
was a great talker and told me a lot 
about the wild times he saw when 
he first struck the country. He was 
a friend to the Indians. They al- 
ways camped near his house when 
trapping up and down the Sioux 
River, in the fall and spring. 

This man told me the war began 
■by a dog biting an Indian. The In- 
dian shot the dog and the whites 
shot the Indian and a band of the 
Siesstou Sioux hearing of this and 
nearly starved, for government ra 
tions that never came, broke into a 
government warehouse and from 
this the war started that has cost 
the nation, so the i)apors say, round 
10 million of dollars. This man told 
me he never lost a cent by a sober 
Indian. He bad a room in his house 
called the Indian room where he al- 
ways put them in the winter when 
they called. They preferred to sleep 
in tepees in the fall and si)ring when 
they cajne to trap for furs and to 

gather wild rice. They were the 
Santee Sioux, the band that One 
Eye and Chief Charley belonged to. 
He showed me a buffalo trail on a 
steep hill side leading down to the 
river, which he said had been worn 
for a hundred years. 

He said the Indians never killed a 
friend if they knew it. The whites 
were more revengeful, they shot at 
every Indian, igood and bad. He told 
me a lot more I can't write down. 
When I left for camp to-night it was 
dark, I looked at a few of the traps 
I had set but found nothing. 

I believe I am as much of an In 
dian as the boys say, as white man 
and I can't deny it. I am awfully 
tired to-night. 

Nov. 22. — I heard this morning 
that Little Crow, Chief of the Sioux 
had committed suieide. If it is true 
it is because he has lost faith in the 
great "white Chief at Washington 
and the broken promises of the gov- 
ernment. There are some things in 
this war that make me feel that I am 
an infidel. Why does God crush all 
these poor Indians and give it all to 
the white because he has wealth. 
They owned this land from ocean to 
ocean by the best title on earth giv- 
en by God himself and yet because 
we are stronger we drive him away 
from the homes of their fathers and 
the graves of his ancestors and 
claim that Christ is on our side. 

I have been studying the "Dacota 
Friend," the woman left here in the 
hotel, and I believe there is some- 
thing terribly wrong in this war. T 
know the Indians have been wrong 
ed and mistreated. But what' can a 
fellow like me do? I could not eat 
any supper to night and I dared not 
tell the boys what I was thinking 
about. I knew they would joke me 
and make fun of me. I feel that 
Obed Hilliard is nearer to me than 
any of the boys and yet he says the 
Indians ought to be shot. I seem to 
think different from any of them. I 
may not be right but I can't help it. 


I know I think as Bishop Whipple 
does that all the wrong in this war 
is on the side of the whites. I am 
sleejjy and it is ten o'clock. 

Nov. 2.?.— The landlord of the ho- 
tel gave me to understand this morn- 
ing that I could not use any more of 
his writing paper, as I had left the 
house for the camp. Of course it's 
all right but it bothers me because 
1 can't write where the boys are 
liothering. We had a drill this fore 
noon. The captain said we would 
get pay to-morrow and I am glad. I 
have two pmges in my memoranda 
of debt and credit accounts to be 

Nov. 24. — 'Marching orders to be in 
readiness to start for Fort Snelling, I 
guess it's a go this time. The no- 
tice came last night and all my traps 
are set miles away on the river and 
lakes. Obe said when the moon 
comes up to-night if yon will gather 
in the traps I'll do the other work. 

It was after midnight when I got 
back with all the traiis and my light 
is the only one burning as I write 
this last word. 

Nov. 25. — It was a lonely trip I 
made last night up the river and 
over the lakes picking up traps. I 
thought of so many things on that 
trip and I was not quite satisfied 
that Obe asked me to get traps alone 
but I made the trip just the same. 
In the woods between the lakes 
where the moon shone in spots un- 
der the pine trees I thought I saw 
figures of Indians but I would brace 
up and walk right u]) to them and T 
always found them stumps or trees 
I can't say I was really afraid, but T 
was miles away in an Indian county 
and sometimes my heart would 
l)ump a little hard. 


Final orders to Ik gin our return 
march to Fort Snelling. near St. 

Paul, came late last night. We were 
up bright and early. Some of the 
boys said they were fixing all night 
to get ready. I was hard to wake, 
because I had gone to bed so late 
after my night's jaunt gathering in 
my traps. I had paid a dollar and a 
quarter a piece for the traps, and the 
merchant said I had had such bad 
luck, 'hie would take them back at 
cost and charge me $2.00 for the use 
of them. I thanked him from the 
bottom of my heart as I had ex])ected 
a much harder deal. Some of the 
I'ellows, one or two from Mondovi 
had spent a good part of the night 
It one of the saloons just across the 
Sioux river and they were singing 
"Dixie" and "Johnny comes march- 
ing home" long before the morn 
ing drum beat. I was scared for a 
moment thinking that the march had 
commenced when I heard them sing- 
ing, but hearing my chum snoring at 
my side, I went to sleep again. 

All the forenoon its been Dixie, 
Dixie. A lot of the nearby settlers 
came in to see the boys go away. 
Some of them said its all right for 
us to go south, they wern't afraid 
any more the Indians had been scaf 
ed away, others wished we would stay. 
I think there were four or five pret- 
ty girls from the Sioux river that 
felt sorry for reasons of their own 
to see the boys go away. It was 
near noon when we started out in 
hit or miss order for St. Cloud. We 
straggled into St. Cloud late in the 
evening. Every fellow looked out for 
his own sleeping quarters. It was 
cold. The Captain said, "Get the 
l)est quarters you can. I slept under 
the flap of a tent between barrels 
rolled up in two blankets with a 
freezing west wind like so much cold 
water pouring over my face all night. 
I was awakened in the morning by 
that song so dear to the south, 
Dixie. I would think more of what 
the song means, if the fellows had 
their heads. 


We have been late this morning 
Nov. 26th, in starting. I have put 
in the time writing my notes. 

Nov. 26 — I am tired tonight 
march' d all day with heavy overcoat, 
haversack, gun and two big blankets. 
I made but 18 miles and when it 
began to get dark 1 dropped out of 
the squad I was with and went to a 
private house where I saw a light 
shining among the trees. A young 
woman and child were the only per 
sons there. She told me her bus 
band had gone to the war and she 
was carrying on the farm alone with 
a little help her brother gave her 
who came once in a while. She told 
me she had but one bed in the house 
■but I was welcome if I could sleep 
on the lounge in the kitchen. I ask 
ed to sleep on the floor, but she said, 
"iNlo." I told her where I slept the 
night before and she just looked 
at me with out saying a word. She 
asked me why my mother let me go 
into the army when I was so younff. 
When I told her I tried to get my 
mother's consent a year before, she 
said, "O, you must be a crazy fel 

Nov. 27th — I was up and on the 
road this morning by daylight. I 
was anzious to catch uip with the 
boys I knew were ahead of me. To 
tell the whole truth, I shed a few 
tears because I could not keep up 
with the crowd. Obed had told mo 
and Sergeant McKay that I was not 
over the effects of the measles and 
that I should take It easy. Father 
wrote me too, before leaving the 
hotel at Richmond, "Be patient and 
not try to do too much, you will 
need bo save your strength for 
months." Just the same I am mad 
that the boys are going to beat me 
to St. Paul. 

Nov. 28th-^Fort Sn«niing, Minn. 
Arrived this noon. A few of the 
company still hero, most of them 
come and gone. The right wing of 
our Rog't came down the Minnesota 
some days ago bringing with them 

1700 captured Sioux, wives, children 
and old men and women of the bos 
pitilies. They are cami^ed on the 
bottoms just below the P"'ort at the 
junction of the Minnesota and Mis 
sissippi rivers. They are a broken 
hearted ragged, dejected looking lot. 
They have a million dogs almost, and 
you can hear them barking for miles. 
There are 156 Teepes. A Minnesota 
Reg't is in charge of them and no 
soldier is allowed inside the Teepes. 
Papooses are riilnning about in the 
snow barefoot and the old Indians 
wear thin huckskin moccasions and 
no stockings. Their ponies are poor 
and their dogs are starved. They 
are going to be shipped West into 
the Black Hills country. Like the 
children of Israel in the Bible story 
they are forced to go forever from 
the homes of their childhood and the 
graves of their fathers to dwell in 
te mountains and on the barren 
plains of a strange land. I lifted up 
the flaps of a number of their Teepes 
and looked in. Every time I looked 
in I met the gaze of angry eyes. 
Nearly all of them were alike. Moth 
ers with babies at their breasts, 
grandmothers and grand sires sat 
about smouldering fires in the center 
of the Teepe, smoking their long 
stemmed pipes, and muttering their 
plaints in the soft guttural tones of 
the Sioux. The white man's face was 
their hate and their horror and they 
showed it by hate in their eyes and 
their black lowering brows. Why 
shouldn't they? What had they done? 
What was their crime? Th<? white 
man had driven them from one 
reservation to another. They were 
weary and broken hearted and des- 
perate at the broken promises of the 
government. And when they took 
up arms in desi)eration for their 
homos and the graves of their sires 
thoy are called savages and red 
devils. When we white people do the 
same things we are written down in 
history as heroes and patriots. Why 
this difference? I can't see into it. 


I often think of what father said of 
justice in the world. That is, that 
it is the winning party the lions of 
the earth, that write its liistory. He 
said, "Cataline, had any body but 
his bitter enemies written his history 
might have been shown to be a good 
man." I have been fooling around 
the Indian camps all day and my 
company are all gone home. From 
where I sit writing these notes in a 
little niche on the side of the Fort 
overlooking the camp brlow I can see 
the sentinels pacing their rounds and 
hear the yelping of hungry Indian 
dogs. My fingers are numb. The 
cold west wind hits me here and T 
must quit. I must look for a warm 
place to sleep tonight and start for 
home in the morning by the way of 
Hudson and Eau Claire. 


Co. G. 25th Wis., Vol. Inft. 

Dec. 16, 1S62. 

Dear parents: After just one 
week of varying incident from the 
time of leaving my old dear home 
I am seated to write to you. We 
did not find our regiment at Winona 
as we expected, they had gone to T.a 
Crosse. There were 27 of us in the 
crowd so we hired three liveries and 
drove all night and reached T.a 
Crosse at f o'clock in the mornins 
we nearly swamped in the Black riv 
er crossing Mcdilvery's ferry the ice 
was running so, but we ?ot over all 
right. W'e stayed in La Crosse cue 
night and came on to Madison the 
next night. The iieople of l.a Crosse 
were good to us, they gavp us a fine 
dinner in the biggest haH in to'^n 
bnit miother it did not tris^e half rs 
good as the last one you pave me of 
bear meat and vension and hot bis 
cuit and honey. Tt may be T did not 
do right when I sneaked out of th'^" 
house and got Billy and rode away 
without saying good bye, but I co'ild 
n't help it. I knew it hurt you to say 

good >l)ye and that's why I did it. 

Well, we are in Madison, the Capi 
tal of the state. How long we are to 
stay nobody knows. They say we 
need drilling and must get more dis- 
ciplined before we go to the front. 
Well I hope we won't stay here long. 
These barracks are awful cold, and 
my bunk is on the top tier, next to 
the shingles too hot in the evening 
cold in the morning. I am wearing 
father's moccasins yet. I didn't get 
time to buy me boots in La Crosse or 

Tell father to use my money and 
buy him some more. We are to be 
paid soon and I will send you some 
money. You need not lay it up as 
you did before but uise it, and don't 
think of me, I am all right. I never 
want to see father wear patches 
again. I don't believe this war is for 
long. I expect to be home next year 
t'. help with the work. Maybe not, 
but we'll see. 

I forgot to tell you that we came 
in the cars to Madison from La 
Crosse. It was a new experience to 
me, I was wide awake the whole way 
I was afraid we were off the track 
every time we crossed a switch or 
came to a river. At the towns, girls 
swarmed o» the platforms to ask the 
boys for their pictrtHres and to kiss 
the best looking ones. A young 
Frenchman, we called him the pony 
of the reigiment because he was so 
small and (juick got the most kisses. 
'He was so short the boys held him by 
the legs so he could reach down out 
the windows to kiss the girls. Many 
times some old fellow held the girls 
up so she could be reached. It was 
fun anyway. 

I never think but I am all rig'^t 
except when I try to double quick 
for a half hour or so. My wind gives 
out. Lieutenant Parr says, "Your 
measles stay with you yet." "Warm 
weather" he says, "will fix you all 
right." Love to all. 

Your son. 



Madison, Wis., Dec. 25tli. 1862 
Co. G.. 2oth Regt 

Dear mother: You see my paper 
don't have tlie regulation picture on 
it of Soldiers in file or in battle ar 
ray I am tired of such fluinmory. 
The meaning of the whole thing is 
to make money for the inventor and 
not for the soldier. We are told thai 
the life of the Nation is at stake, and 
every fellow that enlists offers him 
self as a martyr to save his country. 
I was thinking these things over Inst, 
about 2- P. M. in the morning when I 
was nearly froze and the relief 
guard came round and I was off duty 
to go to my tent and get some sleep. 
It seems like foolery to the common 
soldier that for two hours we must 
stand in a temperature of r!0 or 40 
degrees when we are a thousand 
miles from the enemy. I had to Avalk 
and walk to keep from free:^ing. The 
mercury was down near 40 below 
zero and the guard house where we 
sat down between reliefs or lay 
(fown was little better than out 
doors. The health of aur Resriment 
is none too good. One man dies on 
an average every day. .As T writp 
this letter the drum is beatins-. Th'^ 
food we get is too blame for our bad 
health The boys thr'^aton a riot 
everv day for the bad bppf and snoi't 
bread issued to us and all this in 
our home state.of Wis^^onsin. T went 
to meeting yesterdav l>oth morning 
and evening. Tn the mnrnins- at thp 
Ranficts in tho -^venine at tlip Rnisro 
nal chureh. The nreacher discussed 
thp state of the TTnion. T thot he 
talkf^d a bit like a traitor He wa<5 
porrv the states shoii'd co tn war 
over thp nupstion of slavprv. He 
hoped the T^nion wnnld hp nreservpd 
and hp thot TTnelp Tom's '^^bin was 
mueh to hiamp for thp wnr ra"t 
Dwarwin said the prpaehpr omebt to 
I'vp in South Paroli'ia Thprp is till- 
that «-p w)'l rrt tiav tio morrow. T 
have sent a record of o'U^ rompany 

home. Hope you got it I shall send 
you a lot of clothing just before we 
leave. Renuinl)er me to Uncle Ed 
ward Cartwright. It was kind of 
him to ask so often about me. I 
wonder where Ez and Ed are. They 
don't say a wV^rd. You remember 
they went in the 2nd Calvery. 

1 am glad father had such good 
luck getting deer this fall, you will 
have lots of venison this winter. It 
is too bad the Elk are all gone •r 
lulled off I know father is sorry. He 
blamed the Sioux Indians for scaring 
his game but the St. Uouis hunters 
and the Farringtons of Mondovi have 
spoiled his hunting more than the 
Indians. I hope he will stop hunting 
bears alone. Its a dangerous busi 
ness. Old Prince is a dear good dog 
but a bear is too much for him at 
close qiUi'arters. Is his jaw all right 
again? Every letter I get fr'om home 
I expect to hear of Jenny's death. 
She is bound to rub her red blanket 
off in the brush and the first hunter 
that sees her will shoot her for a 
wild deer. I wonder what Claffin's 
peo|)le tho't when she ran in their 
bedroom and laid down to get away 
from the dogs. 

Poor thing eight miles from home 
with no friend near, raced by dogs, 
until her tongue hung out, and to 
save her life rushed into the open 
door of the Claffin home. Poor .Jenny 
Deer. With four bullet marks on her 
legs and body and one thru her red 
blanket, and the damned d'ngs rac 
ing her for life. Poor thing. Poor 
thing. T can't help it, but these 
things make me homesick. 

I'm ashamed of myself. Dear 
Mother, Good Bye. 

From Your Son 

Madison, Wisconsin, .Tan. Btb, ISfi.'^. 

Hd. Quarters 2.Tth R'^gt. Wis. 
Dear sister: I am sure you would 


smile if you could get a view of Co. G. 
as 1 can see them from whore I sit. 
You wouUd say, "What a writing 
school." 1 can count more than 40 
of the boys writing letters to their 
mothers or their girls. Mostly to 
•their girls. Its easy to tell, if a fel 
low is writing to his mother he don't 
squirm and cover his puper when 
some guy looks over his shoulder. 
There is a lot of such teasing. The 
only way is to iget away up in the top 
bunks out of reach and hold their 
portfolios on their laps for a desk. 
1 came off guard this morning after 
the coldest night of the winder. .\ly 
beat was long side the railroad track 
on a high bank where the wind cut 
me from all sides. 1 set my gun 
down and run back and forth to keeit 
from freezing my toes. The snow 
sifted in the path and kept it soft 
and mealy. The Legislature had 
some extra work at the capitol last 
night. 1 could see the light at the 
top of the dome until after midnight. 
No pay yet though they keep prom- 
ising it. Went to the Episcopal 
church last Sunday. Say, don't they 
i' I .a styie ilioughV 1 compared 
them in my mind to our little bunch 
m that two by four school house in 
(Jilmanton. The i)reacher came out 
in a black dress and 'alked about 
things 1 couldn't understand, but the 
music was nice when 1 came away. 
If 1 was any better in heart, it was 
because of the music and not for any 
thing the preacher said. A lot of the 
boys celebrated Christmas and New 
Year to their sorrow. Some of them 
were put in jail up town and two of 
them are there yet. Nearly every 
other house betwesn here and the 
Capitol sells beer and by the time the 
lovers of grog get into town they are 
full to running over v.itli ,'When 
Johnny comes marching home." 
There was close to a mutiny of the 
two regiments here the other day be 
cause so many of the boys had been 
arrested and jailed in the city. The 
30th. regiment and several companies 

(if till. 25th cime out without officers 
formed in ranks swearing they would 
go up and storm the city of Madison, 
if necessary and release their com 
rades in jail. Feeling ran so high 
that I took my place in the ranks 
without much heart in it to tell the 
truth. I was glad when our officers 
came around and explained that we 
were mutineers and in violation of 
the rules of war and that we should 

1 had no pity in my heart for the 
fellows in jail and 1 was glad for an 
ti.vciise lu sneak back lo head qaar 
.CIS. \\e have s^me good fellow.s in 
our company who are devils whtu 
they are in drink. And we have 

bout tour who are devils drunk or 
sober. While I am writing these, the 

oys are singing Di.xie in a .^reat 
chorus. This awful weather makes 
)us hanker for the warmer south and, 
since there is no hope of home. All 
seems quiet on the Potomac. 

I see by the papers that the church 
are urged to pray for the end of the 
war. 'l''hey have had several spells 
ai this and the battles have been 
harder and the slaughter greater. 
The churches south have been doiiiy 
the same thing. It would seem that 

;od ought to i)ity the slave and help 
our side, but will he'.'' I know what 
father would say. He would quote 
Napoleon, who said, "put your trust 
in well drilled troops and keep your 
powder dry." 1 remember the last 
time I heard him say this, when Kl 
der Morse was visiting us and they 
were talkinig about the wickedness of 
slavery about which they both 
agreed. Father disputed the Elder's 
opinion that God presided over the 
movements and att'airs of earth. He 
cited slavery and the wicked wars of 
the earth and the crimes of the liq 
uor traffic as being inconsistent with 
the character of a just Oi^d. Elder 
Morse agreed with father this far, 
I hat they were not in harmony with 
the Divine plan, but were tolerated 
for some reason not given to man to 



Have father tell Elder Morse, I 
thank him for his kind words. His 
son Henry is about and ahlc to eat 
his rations every day. I hope you 
wont sell your land as you talk of 

doins. 1 got a letter from G the 

other day and answered it. He thinks 
McClellon is a traitor. Lets of us 
think the same. Our Captain is a 
wise man and he says McClellon has 
heen waiting and waiting when h" 
should have been marching and 
fighting. I am awful sorry that Free 
mont was set down on by Lincoln. I 
am with Freemont as many of the 
boys are. I have no heart in this 
war if the slaves cannot go free. 
Freemont wanted to set them free 
as fast as we came to them. I am 
disappointed in I^incoln. 1 remember 
a talk father had witli uncle Ed. 
Cartwright, who was ))laming the 
war on the Abolitionists. It made 
father mad and he talked back pret 
ty hot. He said I have a boy who 
wants to go to the war and 1 would 
give his life as cheerfully as Abra 
ham offered his son if necessary that 
the slaves might be freed. Father 
meant all right though it seemed 
hard, but I love him all the more 
for it, although I suppose I am the 
boy ho meant for the sacrifice. We 
are all anxious to go south, though 
none of us that I know are anxious 
to get shot for any cause. Direct as 
before to Camp Randall. Love to 
all, mother father and lirothers. 

Your brother. 

Camp Randall, Madison, Wis. 
Hd. Quarters 25 Regt. Wis. Vol Infty. 
Dear mother: 

This is a fine miorning and the 
29th. of January, 1863. How the time 
flies. Your last letter came day be 
fore yesterday. I am c<.,wfully glad 
father had such good luck killing 
deer. You will have i)lenty of good 
meat for the winter. You wish I 
could have a taste along with you. 

Yau bet I do to, but it can't be, so we 
must not think of it. We came close 
to a row with the :!Oth regiment yes- 
terday. The Colonel in command of 
a squad came down to put some of 
our boys in the guard house. The 
word spread like wild fire and a rush 
was made for the barracks where the 
boys were taken,, and it took but a 
minute to get them from th(> 30th. 
men and the 30th. Colonel was glad 
to get back to his regiment. The 
boys are threatening revolt against 
the commissary. Our meat and bread 
is a fright and a big share of the men 
in both regiments are ripe for mis 
chief. I get a lunch nearly every 
day at a ilttle grocery just outside the 
fence. I get a glass of cider, a hand 
ful of crackers and a nice piece of 
Swiss cheese for ten cents. They 
are Swiss Germans that run the 
grocery and the girl that clerks has 
the blackest hair and eyes I ever 
saw. She has been in this country 
three years and talks very good Eng 
lish. She has a brother in the Swiss 
army and when she brags the 
Swiss soldiers and how much nicer 
they are than we Yankees, she shows 
the prettiest -white teeth as she 

There is a rumor that we are to be 
paid soon, anyway befor-e we go 
South. Rumor is such a liar we 
don't know what to believe. It i.s 
auite sure we will be assigned to the 
Southwest somewhere. Perhaps to 
Vicksibu<rg, where the rebs are mak 
ing a grand stand, perhaps to post 
duty on some of the river points. 
Some of the boys pretend they would 
like to smell gun powder on the bat 
tie line before the war ends. I sup 
liose they feel that way. I am 

learning some things. f find that 
men who talk the most are not al 
ways the bravest. 

The news from Washington is bad. 
McClellen with bis hi.-.; ,';rmvhasg:>np 
into winter quarters instead of mak 
iug an aggressive eamiiaign toward 
Richmond. Gen. McClennard is doing 


far more good work than all the rest. 
Some of the boys are dreaming of 
home and a good time pretty soon, 
but the Richmond papers talk like 
the south was just beginning to wake 
up. Lots of poor fellows will bite the 
dust before the end yet. 

Friday "Jan. 30th. I took a run 
this morning up to the Adjutants 
otttce and back, to try my wind. It is 
quite a distance from our barrack. I 
believe 1 am getting my legs and 
wind back, and 1 am aiufuliy glad. 
Some of the poor fellows who were 
sick with me in St. Cloud, Minn., with 
measles, are losing ground. Orlando 
Adams of Mondovi says he has no 
wind any more. Nathan Manu says 
he has no vim any more and can't 
stand the drill exercises. 

Lots of the boys are blue as wnet 
stones. They say if they were only 
out of it, the Union might go to bla/. 
es. If they would take us where the 
traitors, are, and give us a cliance tu 
fight, we would feel that we were 
doin<g something. But this dreadful 
sameness is wearing. 

February 2nd. Dear mother: 

Your latest letter came this morning. 
1 hope you wont delay writing be 
cause news is scarce. Anything from 
home is news if it Is in your hand 
writing and only abo'ut the dog or 
cat . No, I dont suppose we get the 
war news earlier than you do. 1 
thank yoiu for sending the paper of 
tea, altho you remember I don't love 
It especially. But I am sure this will 
be good coming from the best of 
mothers. I will drink it in memory 
of you and home. I have read it 
somewhere that mothers were the 
best beings in the world and now 1 
know it to be true. I trust 1 may 
live to come home and prove it to 
you. You think our officers should 
see that our bread and meat is good. 
My dear mother, they dont have a 
word to say about it. It's in the 
hands of the contractors. Dont wor 
ry, we will live thru it. and if south 

ern biuUets dont get us, wo will tell 
you all about it when we come home. 
So Henry Amidon is married Well 
well, Henry is a good boy and 1 hope 
he has made no mistake in his choice- 
So the world goes. I used to think 
Mrs. Amidon's doughnvils and milk 
gravy was belter than ours. You, 
dont care mother do you if 1 say 
this. She was a nice cook and after 
walking down to Beef river, and tak- 
ing a swim with Henry, and by the 
time we got back to his home for a 
late dinner, things tasted mighty 

I was just a 'bit of a fool two years 
ago next March when I tried to wade 
across the foot bridge up to my cli^n 
in ice water near the mill dam to vi-sit 
flenry when his folks were in Ver 
mont. I had to back out aid when 1 
got back to shore 1 was so numb that, 
1 ran clear down to Uncle Dan 
Loomis' place and back to start my 
blood circulatiUig. 1 was so cold 1 
couldn't put all my clothes on and 
ran half naked. 

I guess I've strung this letter plenty 
long, and part of it I can't read my 
self. I expect to catch it from father 
about my spelling ds usual, well 
thats alright, 1 ought to improve 
as I have bo't me a pocket dictionary. 
It looks so much like a teslament 
that our Chaplain came along ihr 
other day and asked me what chapter 
I was reading. Well, he said, llie 
testament is the only book tlutt is 
better anyway. He is a good man 
and wants every soldier to have a 

Direct as before to Co. G. Camp 
Randall, Madison. 

Your son, 


Yours of recent date juet received. 
1 am glad you are knocking the split 
rail endways. Now we will have a 
good fence and no mistake. 

We must not put any hollow logs 

in for a foundation liive the one you 
told of in Oliio, wliere one end came 
on the outside and the other on the 
inside of the field. I never think of 
that story of the old sow trying to 
get into the field after the farmer 
had turned both ends on the outside, 
without a good laugh. It seems you 
have heard that small pox is preval 
ent here. Don't be scared. There 
was but three or four cases and they 
were in the 30th Regt. Deaths are 
frequent enough but from other 
causes. We are losing a man a day 
on an average. The boys are buried 
on a hill jiist above the camp, and 
the roll of the muffled drum and the 
blank discharge of a dozen muskets 
is the solemn reminder that another 
soldier has gone to his last bivouc. 
Fat,her, I begin to hate war and 1 
have seen nothing of it eitlier. There 
is so much contention among the 
boys so much that we hear from the 
Potamac, about treachery, of Mc- 
Clellan and a never ending dispute 
about the freedom of the slaves. 
Just now too we are having a fear 
ful rumpus about the rations. The 
boys are on the point of revolting 
against the government, the con- 
tractors or the state for the sour 
bread and stinking meat rationed out 
to us. The sickness of our Regt. is 
laid to bad food. StUff they call 
coffee is made of various seeds. 

It seems an outrage to get such 
treatment in the Capitol of our State. 
Curse upon curse is heaped upon the 
contractors. We have appealed to 
the members of the Legislature but 
they can't help us. After we had 
drawn our rations of sour bread the 

I other day some three hundred of the 
boys marched down and stormed the 
commissary with the sour loaves as 
ammunition. The next day we got 
better bread but it did not last long. 
We hear that it is made out of musty 
crackers and soap. I don't know I'm 
sure. I got a letter jufit this minute 
and dear, I am so glad. I can see 
you all gathered about the kitchen 
stove. Mother has just filled the tea 
kettle for morning, and father is fill- 
ing the oven with kindling to wet 
for starting the fire in the morning 
and I can see myself cuddled up 
under the blankets just as mother 
used to leave me after saying good 
night under the open shakes with 
the snow drifting in upon me. I 
don't believe I am homesick, but if 
1 could not recall in memory these 
pleasant days of my boyhood I am 
not quite sure but I should be. Tell 
mother I am just childish enough to 
recall that little truindle bed prayer 
and to repeat it in a whisper every 
night. I do it because it brings 
me closer to her but how I cannot 

We are .going south pretty soon, 
We hear it rumored every day. 

I got a letter yesterday from Fred 
Rosman. He recalled the times we 
hoed corn together in 1S57. Fred 
and 1 layed great plans about killing 
chickens and sending them to Foun- 
tain City and selling to the steam 

What funny folks boys are anyway. 
We talked about a lot' of things. 
Most of our schemes have come to 
naught. O the pity, that the world 
don't pan out as they expected. Dora 


said in her last letter that you were 
not so well. Your letter makes no 
mention of illness. I hope you are 
all right. 

Your son, 


Columbus Kentucky, 
25th, Regt. Wis. Volitoitcers. 

February, 2Sth. 186.']. 
Dear sister: \our letter came 
in due time. H was handed me yes- 
terday by the orderly as I oame off 
guard. You rate me pretty low on 
composition and spelling but I mean 
to do better. Yes, I sent my clothes 
the day before we left Madison. I 
directed the box in care of Gile>- 
Cripps at Trempealeau. Father will 
have to get it from there. It weighs 
about 100 pounds. You will know 
my knapsack by my name stamped 
on one of the shoulder straps. Bar- 
ney Bull has a coat in my bundle, all 
the rest belongs to the Mondovi boys 
out side of my knapsack. Father 
should leave their clothes at Yankee 
Town, (Gilmanton), where their folks 
will get them. I hope father wont 
wear my coat. I hate to see a civi 
lian in soldiers dres.s. If I ever get 
back it will do me for some time, 
and if I dont get back give it to some 
poor soldier in the neighborhood. You 
did not say anything of my letter 
written on the eve of leaving Madi 
son for Caire, Illinois. Of course ynu 
have it by this time. The sweet 
hearts and wives of the boys from 
all parts of the state swarmed about 
the station to say pood bye. There 
were lots of mothers and fathers too. 
The sweethearts smiled buit the 
mothers an^ wives shed tears. I 

■saw a few tears in the eyes of some 
of the married men. It made me 
think of the song I have heard father 
sing so many times. Here are two 
lines: "Go watch the foremost ranks 
in danger's dark career, Be sure the 
hand mast daring there, has wiped 
away a tear". There were a thous- 
and handkerchiefs fluttering in the 
air waving final adieus as the two 
long trains bearing the 25th. slowly 
pulled out of the station to begin 
their journey south. I don't remem 
ber what I wrote you about Cario. 
They say it is a bit like Cario in 
Egypt. Our Cario has more rats 
111 bet, and it is built right in the 
forks of the Ohio and the Mississippi 
I'ivers. I don't like the people. They 
are half rebs, never look at a sol- 
dier nor .speak in passing. There are 
a lot of steamers tied up here loaded 
with supplies for Vixburg and other 
points occupied by our troop. 

The site of our camp here in Col- 
umbus K. Y. is fine. We can see for 
miles up and down the river. We 
are on a high bliiX'f 200 feet higher 
than the town. The water is not 
good tho and we drink cold coffee to 
quench thirst. No enemy can ap- 
proach us by water and on the land- 
side we throw out pickets every day 
in a half moon circle touching the 
river above and below town, so we 
cannot be taken liy surprise from the 
land. We have a lot of heavy can- 
non behind strong breast works over- 
looking the river so that no hostile 
fleet could reach us. On the land 
side there seems little danger oi at 
tack. Half the i)eople in this part of 
Kentucky are Union and we would 
have plenty of warning of any rebel 

advance. 1 have been on i)icket duty 
in the woods some two miles from 
town twice since coming here. My 
beat was supposed to keep moving 
constantly back and forth for two 
hours at a stretch. 

A comrad would be on a similar 
beat either .side of me but one was 
not allowed to have any conversation 
with comrades on guard. Say I wani 
to tell you its a lonesome job special- 
ly if the night is cloudy and dark. 
Its an awful good time to think of 
home and soft warm bed and all 
that. Then I would say to myself, 
what's the use. When the stars are 
shining I always look for the dipper 
and the north star. They are both 
a little lower down here than in 
the north but they look just as 
friendly a.s they did in Wisconsin 
There is a sort of companionship in 
the stars when one is alone. I re- 
member how I used to look up at 
the stars when I was out trapping 
alone with old Prince, over Traverse 
creek or in Borst Valley. The bark 
ing of foxes and the snort of pas- 
sing deer would keep me awake for 
hours. Old Prince and I slept under 
the same blankets with nothing over 
us but the sky. 

Ah, but delightful days are 
no more and I am here in far away 
Kentucky. Confound it there goes 
the "drum. IC means i)Ut on your 
belts and get out for drill. 

Good bye, 

Columil)us, Ky., March 5th. 1S<i'! 

25th. Wis., Vol. Infantry. 

Dear folks at home: I sent you a 

letter a day or two ago and mayl)e 

I will hear from you soon. I hope 

I shall. 1 am well and we are hear- 

ing and .seeing things and the days 
are not so heavy as at Madison. The 
weather is fine most of the time 
warm and clear. 

We drill every day, do police work 
cleaning round the camp, and take a 
.i5troll now and then back in the 
country, far as the pickets will let 
us. We are really in the ' sunny 
sotfth." The slaves, contrabands, 
we call them, are Hocking into Col- 
umbus by the hundred. Oeneral 
Thomas of the regular army is here 
enlisting them for war. All the old 
buildinys in the edge of the town are 
more than full. You nev^er meet ono 
but he jerks his hat off and bows 
and shows the whitest teeth. I never 
saw a bunch of them together Ijut I 
could pick out an Uncle Tom, a 
Quimibo, a Sambo, a Chloe, a Eliza 
or any other character in Uncle 
Tom's Cabin. The women take in a 
lot of dimes washing for the soldiers, 
and the men around picking up rdd 
jobs. I like to talk with them. They 
are funny en/ough, and tlie 
stories they tell of slave life are 
stories never to be forgotten. Ask 
any of them how he feels and the 
answer nearly alway.s will be, "Sah, 
I feels mighty good sail," or "God 
bress you massa, I'se so proud I'se a 
free man." Some are leaving daily 
on up river boats for Cairo and \i]> 
the Ohio river. The Ohio has al 
ways been the river Jorden to the 
.slave. It has been the dream of his 
life even to look upon the Ohio 

The government transports r^' 
turning from down river points 
where they had been with troops or 
supplies, would pick up free men on 
every landing and deliver them fren 
of charge at places along the Ohio 
and upper Mis.sissippi points. 

The slaves are not all black as wo 
in the north are apt to suppose. 
Some of them are quite light. Those 
used as house servants seem- to have 
some education and don't talk so 
'broad. A real pretty yellow girl 


about 18 was delivering some wash 
ing to the boys yesterday. She left 
her master and mistress in Decem- 
ber and came to Columbus. In 
answer to the quie.stions of the boys 
she said she left home because her 
mistress was cross to her and all 
other servants since Lincoln s 
emancipation. She said her mother 
came with her. One of the boys 
asked her why her father did not 
come with her . She said," My father 
haint no colored man, he's a white 
man." When tli'e boys began to laugh 
she picked i"lJ her two -bushel bask- 
ets of clothes, balanced it on her 
head and went her way. That girl 
must have made fifty stops among 
the tents leaving her basket of 
clothes. I wonder if she heard the 
same dirty talk in each of them. The 
talk ^'asen't clean, but some of us 
who thiot so just let it pass and kept 

The talk now is our regiment will 
be divided, half sent up the Ohio to 
Ft. Donoldson the other half down 
the river. But this may be but one of 
many like^^ rumors. There is alway.s 
somiething in the air. Say but the 
picture before me as I write this is 
fine. I am sitting on the rampart of 
the Fort 200 feet above the river. 
The river, turbid and swollen from 
melting snows in Ohio and Indiana 
boils and .twirls as its mighty cur- 
rent strikes the bluff almost direct 
ly below where I sit. A regiment of 
calvary has just landed from a gov- 
ernment (boat, and .are climbing the 
bluff in a long winding column. 
Their horses are fresh and they 
come prancing along, the swords of 
their riders jingling, as if they were 
proud of their iiart in the scene 
They don't know where they are go- 
ing but doubtless to garrison some 
post farther south in the state. 
wrote Ben Gardner some time ago, 
am afraid he has fallen or taken 
prisoner. He has always been 
prompt to answer. His regiment is 
south of Memphis. 

I am afraid you will think me 
given to much to frequent and long 
letters, but I remember fathers ad- 
vice never to limit postage or letter 
paper expenses. 

1 should have mentioned that 
while the health of the boys is good 
in the main, we have some 20 in reg- 
imental hospital. Nathan Mann of 
ouV company and Orlando Adams 
of Mondovi are not expected to live. 
These poor fellows are victims of the 
measels and were sick with me in 
the hospital at St. Cloud, Minnesota. 
Direct as before to Columbus. 
Your son, 

Cohim'.'us K. Y. March 10th. 186:-;. 
25th. Wis. Vol Inft. 

Dear parents: Rec'd a letter from 
home yesterday. It came to Colum- 
bas and was remailed to me at Cairo 
where our company had made a halt 
enroute with Ave other companies to 
Ft Donaldson. We stopped at Cairo 
to get our new guns. They are not 
here but we are going to wait for 
them. Cairo is not so muddy as 
when we came here in February. 
Still the water in the river is 12 feet 
higher than the prairie behind the 
town. The levee or filling is all that 
saves the town from drowning. 

I am sorry you are so frightened 
when you read of the big guns and 
stacks of cannon balls. I thought I 
had a niore courageous mother. You 
know it is said that it takes ten ton 
of iron and lead to kill one soldier. 
Just think of that and take courage. 
They Hooked kind of ugly to me at 
first but now I never think of their 
being fearsome. We may have a 
different feeling about them when 
the time comes to use them. I stood 
guard last night on a government 
transport loaded with hard tack and 
sow ))eMy (salt pork). I never saw 
so many rats, the boat was swarm 
ing with them. Of course they had 
plenty to eat. I counted more than a 
hundred rat holes in the cracker 


iboxes. The day before we left Col- 
umbus a steamboat tried ^o pass 
down by the fort without landing. 
She was hailed and ordered to land. 
It was fomid that she was loaded 
from iSt. Lewis with medical sui>plies, 
mlostly quinine for the rebel forces 
at \ icks'burg. Of course the boat 
and its cargo were confiscated. 

I am glad you like your new teani 
so well. 1 hope they will be alright. 
1 shall want a cutter to match them 
when I get l)ack so 1 can step round 
a little. 

Say mother, I had a question asked 
me yesterday by Elder Harwood, our 
Chaplain, that set me to thinking and 
stumped me slo I couldn't answer. 
He asked me if 1 would go 
with him after the war. He said he 
wanted to get five or six goud smart 
young boys that would go with him 
thru college, 1 an^iwered that 1 
could not say at once but would tell 
him later. Now mother, advise nie 
what to say to him. Ihe Elder is a 
minister of course, and aUho he did 
not say, I suppose he meant to edu- 
cate us for ministry. Mr. Harwood 
is a mighty fine man and I like to 
hear him talk. He preached the 
other Sunday in one of the churches, 
ill Colivmbus, and in his prayer he 
thanked Cod tier the freedom of the 
slaves. Some of the boys don't like 
this in him, but they are mo.•^tly the 
lough sort. J was in his tent when 
a coloied woman brot his washing 
and he spoke to her as nicely as if 
•ihe was a white woman. When she 
curtseyed and called him massa, he 
said, ■■/My poor woman I am not 
your massa, you have no massa any 
more, President Lincoln has made 
all the colored people free just like 
the white folks." The poor wioman 
kept saying, "bress de Lord, bress 
de Lord, dis am de yeah of jubilee. " 
When he handed her a fifty cent 
scrip to pay for the washing she 
looked at the picture of Lincoln 
on the corner of the bill, and putting 
it to her mouth, kissed it. The Elder 

asked her what she did that tor, and 
she answered, "O bress you honey, 
Ma.ssa Aibraham Lincoln is de first 
and onliest Savior of us poor nig- 
gahs, an we des love dat face of 

The order to go to Ft Donaldson, 
has been recalled and we are to go 
back in a day or so to Columbus, 1 
am glad of anything to get us out 
of the.Se rat hole barracks. They run 
over our faces at night and we cant 
sleep. When I remember the talks 
of fielder Morse and father about the 
wrongs of the slaves, I wish they 
might be in Clolumbus a few days 
and see and hear them as I have. 
Your son, 


Columbus, Ken., March 20th, 1803. 
25th. Wisconsin Vol. 

Dear mother; The six campanies 
of our Uegt. ordered last week to Ft. 
Donaldson returned to Columbus last 
night after a week's stay at Cairo. 
Glad to get back to the top of the 
big bluff once more. We got here at 
midnight. There is an awful tlood in 
the Oiiio pouring into the Missis- 
sippi at Cairo from the melting snow 
above and the seething water is 
black as mud. The air of our camp 
is fine compared to the miasma of 
Cairo. A short time ago I read a let- 
ter in the Alma Journal purporting 
to be a dream by S. S. Cooke. It 
suited the boys to a dot. Some of 
them tho't it was a day dream with 
his senses and eyes wide open. It 
seems you are still having winter 
weather. Grass here is fine picking 
for cattle and there is a lazy sum- 
mer like quietness in the air. The 
trees are leafing and the spring 
'birds are here in force. I have seen 
several gray thrush in my strolls in 
the woods and strings of ducks and 
wild geese are passing north daily. 
Well if I was a wild goose I suppose 
1 would go north too. 

March 21st. After drill went out 


in the edge of the woods. Its more 
peaceful and homelike than the 
racket of the camp. I can .see the 
picket guard 1 eyond me slowly 
pacing his beat. There is no enemy 
about but the discipline and regula- 
tions are just as rigid as they are in 
Georgia. No white man can come 
within the picket line excejit he has 
the l>a.'^s word. A negro is allowed 
to come in. We are afraid that the 
whites may be spies, we know that 
the blacks are our friends. The 
health of the regiment is good save a 
few cases of bowel trouble. The 
boys call it the Kentucky Quick 
Step. There is more sickness amoug 
the poor lazy blacks. They are fill 
ing all the vacant houses and even 
sleeping under the tree.s, so anxious 
are they to get near de "Lincoln 
soldiers. ■■ They live on scraps and 
whatever they can pick up in camp 
and they will shine our shoes or do 
any camp work for an old shirt or 
cast off coat. They had a revival 
meeting at the foot of the bluff last 
night and such shouting and singing 
and moaning. It was Massa Lincoln 
was a savior that came after two 
hundred years of tribulation in the 
cotton field and cane. They had 
long known that something was so- 
ing to happen because so many times 
their massa had visitors and t'l^y 
would tell the .'Servants to stay in 
their cabins and not come to the 
"big house" utitil they was called. 
Then some of the house servants 
would creep round utider the win 
dows and hear the white folks talk 
ing about the war and that the .slaves 
were going to be free. And when 
the one that was sent to listen 
would come back and tell the others, 
they would get down on their knees 
and pray in whispers and give 
thanks to the Lord. Everthing with 
the darkies is Lord, Lord. Their 
faith that the Lord will belli them 
was held out more than 200 years. I 
sometimes wonder if the Lord is not 
partial to the white race and rather 

puts it onto the black race because 
they are black. We sometimes get 
terribly confused when we try to 
think of the law of Providence. This 
black race for instance, they cant 
talk ten words about slavery and old 
Massa and old Missus, but they get 
in something about "de blessed Lord 
and de lovely .lesus" and yet in this 
land of Washington, God has per- 
mitted them to be bought and sold 
like our cattle and our hogs in the 
stock yards, for more than 200 years- 
I listened for two hours this morning 
to the stories of a toothless old slave 
with one blind eye who had come up 
the river from near Memphis. He 
told me a lot of stuff. He said his 
master sold his wife and children to 
cotton planter in Alabama to pay his 
gambling debts, and when he told 
his master he couldn't stand it, he 
was tied to the whipiiing post striii- 
ped and given 40 lashes. The next 
night he ran to the swamps. The 
bloodhounds were put on his track 
and caught him and pulled him down 
They bit him in the face and put out 
hi.s eye and crushed one of his hands 
so he could not use it. He stripped 
down his pants and showed me a 
gash On one of his hips where one of 
the hounds hung onto him until he 
nearly bled to death. This happened 
in sight of Nashville, the Capitol of 
Tennessee. I told this to some of 
the boys and they said it was all 
I bosh, that the niggers were lying to 
I me. But this story was just like the 
ones in Uncle Tom's Cabin and 1 
believe them. And father knows of 
things very mulch like this that are 
I will write you again soon. 
Your son, 


Columbia K. Y., March 25th. 1863. 
25th Regiment Wise. Vol 
Dear father: 

Your latest leter rec'd 
I am perfectly happy to know that 
all are well at home. Don't worry 


about my morals or my healthy 1 am 
taking pretty good (^are of ' both. 
The life of the soldier is not a very 
good reform school, but a boy can 
keep clean iu the army, bad as it 
is around him, if he has the stuff in 
him. Our LiejiUenant Colonel was 
talking about the loose ways of some 
of the soldiers the other day. He 
said there would be one man if he 
lived tluat would go home as clean 
as when he entered the army, mean- 
ing himself of course. 

Dan Hadl|y got a U'tter from 
Geo. W. Gilkey the other day. It 
was a nice friendly letter. He said 
he hoped we would hurry up and 
lick the rebels so we could come 
home as they needed our society iu 
Buffalo Co. He said the girls were 
all waiting for a soldier boy. Mr. 
Gilkey .seems to be a tine man. 1 
see by the northern paiiers there is 
talk of conscripting. Are you in ^lu' I 
conscript limit? I hope not. I would 
hate to see you in the army. I don't 
think the government will need any 
more soldiers. They are planning a 
big campaign on the Potomac to try 
and break Lee's army. (Jrant has 
driven Gen. Pendleton into Vicks 
burg and is closing in around thai 
city. The move seems to be to lay 
seige and starve him out. We hear 
a lot of such talk on the streets but 
the fellows keep mighty straight in 
their conduct. 

There are some rebel officers in 
prison here. 1 was on provost guard 
the other day and stood on a post 
near a barred window of the jail. I 
could see four or five young locking 
fellows in the rooni walking back and 
forth in their grey uniforms^ trim- 
med in fancy gold braid and shoulder 
straps. They would call me up to 
the window and try to make snakes 
out of me. They said I was a black 
Repul)lican and that I was fighting 
for the niggers and didn't know it. 
The oldest one talked like a gentle 
man, asked me a lot of questions 
about Wisconsin and said he had -^ 

boy in the southern army about my 

liSince the hot weather we are all 
getting our hair shaved off. Mine is 
cut close to my seal it. Boats are 
passing daily loaded with troops for 
V^icksbury. It begin.s to look war- 
like in that vicinity. There will be 
a liig battle at Pemberton will come 
out side his breastworks and fight. 
'We look any day for orders to go 
down there. We don't know the 
names of the troops that go by but 
we always give them a good big 
hurrah and tliey .send it back with 
a roar. 

We expect the 27lli,. Wisconsin 
here tomorrow. We will make them 
welcome as we Iiave a lot of picket 
diKty for the force at this place. Yes 
1 wisli you would send me the Sen 
linel while we stay here at least. 
Northern paper.s are peddled in 
camp at from ten to fifteen cents 

Its nice that you have some fresh 
cows. Better not try to raise the 
calves you have so much else to do. 
We get pretty good milk from the 
nearby farmers but they don't know- 
how to make butter. Its white and 
rank. The cows down here are a 
poor starved looking race. They 
liave no grass for hay much to de- 
pend on, they have corn stalks for 
feed in winter. The Blue tJrass re- 
gion is away east of here. That is 
the home too of the Kentucky hors- 
es we have read about. 

Well, the boys are putting on their 
belts getting ready for the call to 
di'ill so I must close for this time. 
Love to all. 
Your son 


Columbus, Ky, 25th regt. 
April loth., 1863. 
Dear mother: 

Your much valued let 
ter received. 1 am just as glad as 1 
can be that all are well, but there is a 
tone of plaint as to things 1 can't 


understand. It must be you have 
the blues. Don't think of me as be 
ing in danger for a minute, for I am 
having a royal good time. Its this 
way with me. If I have the lilues it 
is when I get a fit on of thinking of 
the past when I did'nt do as T shouUli- 
I guess yo'Ui would call it remorse 
Some of the younger fellows and 1 
have talked these things over and 
I find they were kind of troubled in 
the same way. They said it made 
them feel awful mean when they 
remembered «ome sly things or some 
deception they played on fboir moth 
er and father. These things bring 
on homesickness and that sends 
them to the hospital, bnrause they 
can't eat and so are put down on the 
sick list. I think as much of home 
as any of them but I don't want to 
see it until we thrash the rebs to a 
finish. We have four Wisconsin re- 
giments at this place, the '25, 27, 31 
and 34, a full brigade. You have 
doubtless heard, that the Gov. is en 
listing negroes and forming negro 
regiments. They are officered by 
whites and there are a lot of candi- 
dates for positions in all the white 
regiments. Some 2.^ have applied for 
positions from our regiment. There 
is a lot of joking on the side about 
the fellows that want to officer the 
nigger regiments. Our regt. has just 
drawn a new outfit of rubber blank 
ets. hats and short coats. Enclosed 
you will find some flowers given me 
by a poor black washer woman I 
met on the road up the Itluff today 
with a bundle of clothes on her head. 
As she handed them to me she said 
"Please massa will you 'cept dese 
flowers from a poor nigger woman 
who jes loves de Lincoln soldier.^." 
Maybe you has a sweet heart and 
will send um to her." I told her I had 
a .sweet heart, my mother, and she 
said "You's a good boy honey." The 
black folks are awful good, poor mis- 
erable things that they are. The 
boys talk to them fearful and trea<^ 
them most any way and yet they 

ican^'t talk two minuties fbut tears 
come to their eyes and they throw 
their arms up and down and praise 
de Lord for de coming of de Lincoln 

In your last letter you spoke of my 
going to school, if I ever return.. I 
am not l)othering about things so 
far in the future. I am troufbled 
about this awful war. Maybe I 
ought to think more of Webster, as 
father keeps jibing me about my 
spelling. If he will give me time 
I will learn to spell too as I aint but 
16 years old, that is I'll be 17 on the 
15th of May if there has been no 
juggling with the family register. 

By the way I nearly lost some val 

uables the other night. I was on 

Provost guard, the other night in 

town, at the depot. My relief had 

lain down at 11 o'clock for a four 

hours sleep. At 3 o'clock in the 

morning we were routed to go on 

guard, feeling in my pockets 1 found 

my gold pen mi&sing. My money 1 

j had placed in my shirt pocket was 

I safe. The comrade next me lost $17- 

j In the morning my gold pen and 

j holder was found in the mud near 

the platform. A detective force has 

I been looking for the thieves but they 

! don't find any thieves. Word has 

julst come that Nathan Mann of our 

' Co. has just died in the hospital 

Poor fellow, he has two brothers left 

in our compaany. 

A skirmish yesterday at Hickman, 
2(; guerillas were captured and bro't 
to this place for confinment as pris- 
, onei-s of war. There is nothing very 
I stirring about u.s. The boys are gef 
I ting tired of mere guard duty and 
are hoping for any chance that will 
send us to the front. For my part 
I aint dying to go to Vicksburg where 
their is a better chance of gettin? 
killed as some claim they are. May- 
be they are more anxious to die for 
their country than I am but from 
what 1 know of them 1 am doubtful. 
There is nothing farther from my 
mind at this writing than a wish to 


die for anybody or anything. I am 
hopeing and praying for anything to 
malte the rebels squeal and call it 
quits so I can come home and have 
a good time. Of course I am willing 
to take my chance, come what may, 
but I would a little rather live, come 
what may. 

Tell Elder Morse, Henry is ail 
right and eats, if any difference 
more than hi.s rations every day. 
Love to all. 

Your son, 

Head Quarters 2.5th Regt. Wis 
Vol. Inft. 
Colmnbuis, Ky. 
April 15th, 186-. 

Dear Father: — Yours of April 9th 
came in due time. I am so glad all 
are well and that you are so cheer- 
ful and hoijeful that the war will 
soon end. 

You must be very brave to under- 
take so much work as you have 
planned, this spring. I have .iust 
received a letter from cousini Ben 
Gardner, whose regiment is camped 
just l)ack of Memphis, Tennessee. 
You know he i« in the cavalry. He 
says he is orderly and having a good 
time. Plenty of rations, no bullets to 
face and regular pay. He says. "I 
hope to meet you my son and talk 
over family matters and get a good 
look at you." I'll bet he i.s a lively 
fellow and loves a good time. He 
writes about the war as if it was a 
picnic. I enclose his last letter. He 
has no fear of rebel bullets, you can 
see that. 

We moved our canip yesterday over 
near the brow of the overhanging 
bluff. The view is much finer espec- 
ially of the Mississippi. Say father 
do you know I never look at the 
river but I thir.ik of home. I go down 
to the shore nearly every day 1o 
wash my feet. When I dip my hand 
in the water I think that it comes 
from Wisconsin and I wonder what 
part of it came fro n Beef River. It 

is terribly black and muddy, made so 
by the water of the Missouri that 
Hows into it above St. I^ouis. From 
our r.iew camp we can see the daily 
mail boat, 12 or 15 miles away that 
brings us good and bad news from 
home and from Washington. 

Last night 1 lay awake for hours 
listening to the honk honk of the 
wild geese passing over our camp 
toward the north. Does the dam 
which we repaired, the beaver dam 
east, still hold? If it does you must 
have plenty of shooting at ducks and 
geese this spring. Don't think me 
homesick father, when I tell you I 
turned over many times in my bunk 
last night thinking of the stories you 
told me of the early French traders 
who broke the great beaver dams to 
get the beavers and so destroyed the 
nesting places of the wild ducks and 
geese that made their homes ir.i our 
valley and on the neighboring creeks 
before the coming of the whites. That 
novel called "The Prairie Flower" 
still sticks in my craw. I never read 
any book that so haunted me, sleeii- 
ing or awake. I remember that ycu 
told me that it was poisoni to read 
such stuff, but I don't believe it has 
hurt me. The people in "The Prairie 
P'lpwer" were not in fear of any law 
but they did right in the midst of the 
Sioux Indians and the lonesome hills 
and wild ar.iimals about them. 1 re- 
member you said Prairie Flower was 
a fictitious character, an unreal char- 
acter, and that women were not as 
good on the- average as she was paint- 
ed. Well father, I thought you 
might be wrong then but now 1 have 
come to thinik that you were right. 
Getting back to ducks and geese and 
the beavers, how I wish I might bo 
with you this spring. • What lots of 
fun you are having. All this passed 
through my mind last night as I lay 
in my tent with the lappQl thrown 
back so I could see the north star 
and the dfi)i)er. Both of them are 
nearer the horizon than in Wiscon- 
sin. But they brought to me in their 


silence and sameness somethintg of 
the nearness of home. 

The deep dark forests on the Miss- 
ouri ijide reaching back for miles are 
slowly turning to green. Spring is 
here and no mistake. The freshness 
of the grass and leaves, the golden 
.sunshine and carol of birds in every 
tree, give no hint of this human war. 
One thing 1 most forgot. I expressed 
$20 with Capt. Darwin to Durand. 
lou may have to ^ to his home for 
it. His family lives about three miles 
from I have an overcoat 1 
wish wa.s home. I will give it away 
to the first darkey that looks like 
Ur.icle Tom. I know there are some 
grey backs in it. I would rather put 
the grey backs on some darkey than 
on mother, for 1 know sh^ dreads 
.9uch things. 

I send you today a couple of 
southern papers. One, The War 
Eagle, printed at this place, the other 
a Vicksburg sheet f'Ul of brag and 
bluster about foolinig, the Yankees. 
They are a fair specimen of .southern 
newspapers. Are there any copper- 
heads up there? It makes the boys 
mad to read of copperheads at home. 
They are more dangeroois than rebe^d 
at the front because the south is 
made to believe they have lots of 
friends in the north. They had better 
lay low if we ever get home. They 
will find its no joke to the south. 

How I should like to have a bro- 
therly tussel with brother K. and I 
thintk of the boys so often. Well, we 
will have a good time when the war 
i.s over. 

How does Henry Amidon prosper'.' 
Confound him he has forgotten old 
times I guess. I have written him 
but he don't answer. I asked him in 
my letter if he remembered the time 
his father caught u,s down l)y the 
swiming pool laying ir.i the hot sand 
stark naked anj covering ourselves 
with the sand. I never was more 
ashamed in my life than when his 
father hollared and yelled to see us 

and we rolled into the creek to hide. 
Henry didnt mind it as much as I 
did. O, but those were happy days 
and we did'nt know it. 

Father good bye till next week. 
Your son, 


Coluraibus, K. Y. May 3rd. 1S6:{. 
Hd. Quarter^?, 25th. Wis., Vol. Inft. 

Dear sister: I am pleased that 
you have a 'good school and a good 
boarding place. That strapping boy 
so t^i'Al in his lessons may come 
handy in a fight with the others 
siome time. Try and get home 'o 
see the folks ofteci. Mother is wor- lor ut>r our regiment .will be 
.sent to Vicksburg where Grant is 
collecting a big army to storm the 
city. There are no rumors of our 
going of late, tho troops are passing 
downi the river daily b-ound for 
\ icksburg. 

So Ezra C is writing home some 
dreadful tales of g^uis and drums 
and gory battles? Let me tell you a 
bit of a secret. I don't want to 
dispute anybody, but he has not fired 
a gun. Hi.s story of the groans of 
I he wounded and dying and the din 
i' battle, does his imagination more 
credit than his sense of truth. 1 
uUGw their regiment is posted 
ini .1 ibey have been in any fights, 
I he war departmemt don't know of 

Our Colonel has granted 100 fur- 
.i^h.- lo (lie regt. which means 10 
en to each company. Those thai 
are sick and convalescent will get 
the preferance. I am glad I am not 
in either list of unfortunates. I am 
feelii:ig fine. 1 believe I have re- 
covered from every ill effect of the 
measles in Minnesota. Poor Orlando 
Adams of Mondovi is still down and 
may never get better. Orlando has 
applied for a discharge, but they are 
hard to get. I wish he might go 
home for he is a very sick boy, and 
some say there is no hope for him. 
John Le Gore and or two Men- 


dovi hoyi^ are going to get furlouglis. 

Some new war songs have struck 
camp lately. One of them is 
"iWhen Johnny Oomes Marching 
Home." The band boys tent, Chet 
Ides headquarters, gets the new 
i^oy.igs first. If there is anythinig fan- 
ny about them, we can hear Chet 
hiugh his peculiar litjal'ty laugh. 
Another darkey sang, "Babylon is 
Fallen," has been going the rounds. 
It l)egins, "Don't you see de black 
cloud risen ober yonder, whar de ole 
plar.itation am?" I was in a .saloon 
down town yesterday with a lot of 
the boys, some darkies were sing 
ing it. I could have heard it all day. 
The boys would chip in a penny each 
and the black fellows sang it over 
and over. Then they got the negroe^^ 
to butting. Alec Harvey gave five 
cer.its. I gave five, and a lot of others. 
The darkies woa'ld back off like 
rams and come together head to 
head. They said it did not hurt, but 
I believe it did. The boys kept set 
ting them on by giving them 5 cent 
scrip. The darkies were kept about 
half drunk to give them grit. 

I was on picket duty the day 1 
got your letter, about two miles in 
the country. I went to a house near 
my beat and found a lot of Union 
girls, anyway they said they were 
for the union. One of them asked 
me my age. When 1 told her she 
said that was just about her age. 
They gave me a lunch of corn 
bread and a piece of pork. When 
1 came away 1 got .some milk in my 
coffee can and a piece of Johr.inie 
cake for 10 cents. I saw three 
blacks, two men and a women work- 
ing around. 1 don't know whether 
tliey were slaves or hired help. 1 
am goinig to get a pass one of these 
days and go back and buy .some of 
the old ladle's butter. Of course 
I aint thir.iking about the girls. 1 
have lately found out there are a lot 
of fellows getting passes to go into 
the country for milk and butter that 
are lying like troopers. It aint 
milk they want nor butter. They 

are lokin.g for pretty girls or rich 
widows. Such things are common 
talk in the tents after the candles 
are lit until bedtime. Some of them 
have got so far in their fancies that 
they say they are coming back to 
Ciolumbus after the war is over. 

By tlie wuy, have you got that box 
of clothintg yet'? You .say nothing 
about it. I often think of you and 
father singing together the planta- 
ion isoii£.s -^r the slaves. But do you 
know I would give O, so much if you 
could have heard what I heard last 
light. A steamboat from St. Louis 
lay here at wharf last night wait 
ing for orders. After ur.Joading its 
freight, the deck hands, all darkle =, 
joined in singing a lot of plantation 
songs. I sat on some cotton bales 
watching them and listendnig to their 
curious speech. They gathered on 
the forecastle of the lioat and for 
more than an hour sang the mast 
pitiful songs of slave life I ever 
heard. The negroes may not know 
much, but they sing the most sor- 
rowful songs iiii the sweetest voices 
I ever heard. It is wrong for me 
to have wished you here to hear 
them, because you would have shed 
tears. Just before I left one of them 
came up the gang plank near me. 
I asked him how long he had been 
free. He said he quit lii.s old Alassar 
in Tennessee last December and 
shipped on de steamer. Natchese at 
Memphis. I asked him where he 
learned the sonps he had been sing 
ing. He answered "I dont know 
massa, cept da jes igrowed up wi'l 
me. Seems like I always knowed um 
Maybe I learned um from my old 
.Mammy who used to sing um wid 
me for she was sold down in .Via 
bama." As the poor black wretch 
shH'.|ffled along past me (he had no 
clothes above his waist) I noticed 
scars across his back as if made by 
a whip. 

I paid 10 cents for a New York 
paper yesterday. It had a speech ir.i 
it by Wendell Phillips on the hor- 
rors of slavery. 1 am just beginning 


to see what made father walk the 
floor and Bay hard things about the 
slave holders after reading a speech 
by Wendell Phillips. 

You will get this letter when you 
go home. 
Death to copperheads. 

Your brother, 


Columbus K. Y. May 12tli 1863, 
Hd. Quarters 25th Wise. 
Dear mother: 

At last we are under 
marching orders for the South. 
Hurrah. The orders came yesterday 
and I am just writing to tell you the 
glad news. I don't know why but 
the 'boys are clear sone wild about it. 
They say they enlisted to fight and 
they want to fight. We have some 
rebel prisoners down town and they 
have been talking pretty saucy to 
the guard. They aay one butternut 
(that is the color of their undform) 
is good for four Yanks. Poor ignor- 
ant devils. 1 know from their talk 
they don't come down and marry 
them. They don't know hut little 
more than the negroes, they use the 
same brogue. If you shut your eyes 
you would think from their jargon 
you was talking to a lot of "diggers" 
as they call the blacks. A call for 
dress parade. 1 suspect some im 
portant order will be read. Will fin- 
ish later. 

May 13th. 

This morning we were 
relieved from further marching or- 
ders and told to resume our former 
quarters. Last night came a rush 
order to strike camp and march 
double quick to a boat lying at the 
wharf. 1 bad just gone to bed like 
the others and was asleep. Orderlies 
wpre rushing from one tecit to anoth- 
er calling the boy? (o uj) and dre-s 
and fall in. In ten minutes time or 
less every tent alon^' the ten com- 
pany streets was struck and the 
match applied to everything of bed- 

ding and bunk boards that would 
'burn. Eck Harvey and Bill Ander- 
son the twins as they were called 
the two biggest men in th© company 
had just come up from town and 
were feeling pretty well. They were 
swearing and calling it a rebel scare. 
After everything was in a blaze and 
the companies lining up for order.^ 
a Icavalrymah came dashinlgi along 
'bound for the Colonels tent. What 
did the messengers mean? Was it 
a Countermanding order or was it a 
hurry order"? The order came to re- 
turn to camp, and the camp all in a 
blaze. Such a howl as went up from 
a thousand mad men you never 
heard. I am sure it must have look- 
ed to the hundreds of negroes who 
were watJching ifls as if the devil 
with all his fire works and his imps 
had oome to Columtous. This is but 
one incident of that suspenice pecul- 
iar to the life of the soldier. Her^ 
we had packed up our movables and 
burned the rest, and it was midnight 
and dark but for the fire. We lay 
down and pulled over us for the rest 
of the night the tent cloth and we 
'Went to sleep and dreamed of home 
and of father and mother just the 

While we were eating our break- 
fast our good Lieut. Colonel ordered 
us to loose no time in falling in with- 
out armes. We were in line in a 
twinkling and waiting for further 
orders. The Colonel then told ub 
that Gen. Hooker had won a victory 
and he wanted us to give three great 
big cheers and a lot of tigers. And 
they were loud and long. Before 
this letter reaches you, you will 
hiajve heard of Hooker's victory. Old 
Hooker is a fox, Old Hooker is a 
coon, is the praise heard on every 
side. And he deserves it all if what 
we hear is true. I heartily wish he 
had the bloody 2.5th in his command. 
If he had I kind of think we would 
have a chance to work off some of 
our conceit and surplus patriotism. 
Though We never met the enemy it 
is our belief no thousand rebels ever 


stood in line of battle that could take 
our colors. 

The 11th Missouri came through 
here yesterday from Clintoci 12 miles 
from this place. They are a hard 
favored set. of war worn veterans. 
They had seen service. I never saw 
in my life such a siiffht as followed 
in their rear. Such human beings 
once slaves. Some were black as 
eibony with great pitiful white roll- 
ing eyes, and some nearly white and 
as pretty and polite as any woman I 
ever saw. I wionder mother if you 
ever thought what it is to be a slave, 
that is for the women, the mothers 
and daughters. I have thought it all 
out and I will tell you some time if 
I ever come home. 

iSome sardine of a scamp pulled the 
rope out of our flag pole the other 
(lay. Ten dollars was offered any 
one who would climb the pole and 
put it in the pole again. As I write 
there is a daring fellow on the tip 
top of the pole putting the rope in 
the pully. As Lieutenant Brackett 
ha^ skipt our orderly has been pro 
moted to second Lieutenant and our 
second to first Lieutenant. Sargeant 
'McKay of Mondovi takes the first 
Sargeants place and Adam Hein- 
•beaugh of Mondovi comes in as 8th 
Corporal. I think we have the best 
set of officers in the regiment. We 
have a bully captain even if he did 
try to resign at one time. Captain 
Dwarwin is a real good man. I 
would rather go into battle with him 
than any other man on the jol). He 
can't keep st^p to the music, but 
he aint to blame. It just happens 
there is no tim« or music about h' 
The 'boys make fun of him hut they 
like him just the same. 

The fellows that were promoted 
had to set up the beer, and the way 
some of the brave lads drank to their 
health was a bit saddening to see. 
Of course your son had to drink 
Riorae beer, not to be out of fashion, 
thou to tell the whole truth he had 
joined the cold water society. My 
excuse is I wa^ told I could drinl 

cider, and I find I can't, so I was 
deceived. But I promise you, mother 
I have not touched a drop of whiskey 
nor will I while I am in the army. I 
have never forgotten the firm stand 
father took soon as he found he liked 
the taste of drink, and 1 never shall. 
I never took a swallow of beer but 1 
felt as guilty as a thief. I wrote sis- 
ter D. only the other day. Love to 
the boys and father. 

Your son, 

Colum'bue, K. Y. May 23rd. 1863. 
Hd. Quarters, 25th. Wis. Infantry. 

Dear mother: — I sect you a Ion? 
letter the other day ibut I forgot to 
mention my birthday. Ii:» fact I was 
not reminded of it until the day after 
but it has come and gone. I am sure 
if I had been at home my good mo- 
ther would have reminded me of it 
in the shape of something good to 
eat. I don't know as I am any older 
feeling than I was *wo weeks ago 
and the future looks just the same. 
When 1 See an old person I never 
think of being that way myself. 
Maybe the Lord will perform a 
miracle and keep me young like the 
story ini the old testament, but if he 
doesn't I am pretty well satisfied to 
be in this good old world. WTien I 
go back in the country, away from 
the sight of these l)ig black cannons 
sticking their muzzles through the 
port holes of the fort, and look up to 
the green of the trees, and hear the 
hum of the bees and the twit- 
ter of the .bird.s. and see the 
peaceful quiet of the country. It is 
hard to realize that the country is 
being torn to pieces in a big war. 

Dear mother. I should have an- 
swered your last letter more prompt- 
ly. I have written so many of late. 
I had almost forgotten I owed you 
one. You know it is said everythir.c 
is far in war, and I know you will 
excuse me. 

During the last four days we har*^ 
been shading our tents with brash. I 


tell you we have them fixed up nice. 
Standing off a little ways one cani 
hardly see the tents and it makes it 
so much cooler. Hot? Well 1 should 
remark. The^ie May days in old Ken- 
tucky make everybody lawl but the 
darkies and nobody think of them. 
The heat pretty near diove us out of 
the tents in mid day. We take turns 
going over to the hospital to fajj the 
sick boys and brush away the flies. 
The doctors say the younger ones 
are dying of homesickness much as 

Some of my chums and myself 
have been skylarkicig out in the 
country of lat« and we have visited 
a lot of pretty Kentucky homes. In 
a good many of them I am sure they 
hated to aee us come in. They might 
he Union people but they hate to see 
us talking to their slaves and the 
soldiers were a little saucy where 
they thought they were not wanted. 
We would hunit the strawberry beds 
and eat them too. We would call 
for milk, butter, apples and other 
good things to eat. Most of these 
people We knew were our bitter" ene- 
mies and some of the boys were 
afraid their bread was poisoned. We 
found some places where we were 
invited into the house and where 
the young ladies would smile and 
would talk to us about our homes. 
We knew these smiling young ladies 
might have been traitors and might 
have spies hidden away to hear 
what was being said. The dwell- 
ings or cabins of the slaves were 
mostly empty. Here and there we 
saw a few old negroes who chose to 
stay by Ol mis.sus and masser to 
leaving their old Kentucky home to 
go out into a strange world. These 
old slaves were awful shy and al 
ways made -pome excuse to get away 
when we tried to talk to them. I 
suppose tliely were afraid Masser 
would see them. 1 often wonder 
wheve the i)Oor blacks will go to find 
a home and something to eat. Those 

I have talked with say they are 
treated better now since they can 
run away without being chased by 

We found a pretty country home 
the other day where the young lady 
took us out in her flower garden and 
gave each of us a bunch of flowers. 
I am .svvre her mother did not like to 
see us there. She had a cross look 
on her face and watched us thru the 
window as if she feared we might 
capture the girl and i;un away -vrith 
her. When we went away one of the 
Durand boys told the girl he hoped 
to come back after the war and mak- 
ing the prettiest bow she said she 
hoped he would. When we went 
back to camp we told Chet Ide and 
.Joel Harmon of Mondovi what a pic- 
nic we had and we all joined in and 
Bang "Our Old Kentucky Home." I 
found out a strange thing lately, the 
darkies doni't know anything about 
the song, of Old Kentucky Home, ex- 
cept as they have picked it up from 
hearing the whites sing it. I guess 
I must have thought it came out of 
some negroes heart. Anyway when 
ever I met a negro alone anywhere 1 
always wanted to ask him to sing 
that socig. Those I did ask would 
smile and grin and say "Massa I 
don't know it." Their ignorance of 
the song gave me a curious feeling. 

This is a long letter. I hope it 
will find you all well as I am and 
happy. I..ove to the boys . father and 
sister Do. 

Your boy, 


Columbus K. Y. May 29th 1863, 

Hd Quarters 25th. 
My dear mother: 

Your last letter came 
in due tinip. inst two ard a balf dav<5 
from the hour it was written. It 
must have been dated wrong. T got 
a letter from father the same day. 
Tt had been held up somewhere. t 
suppose the mail clerks get things 
mixed sometimes. 


We are under orders to march on 
short notice. We don't know if it 
means to go south, north, east or 
west. It meanis just one thing and 
nothing else "be ready." A soldier 
can't find any fault and if he does he 
is put in the guard house or if on a 
march he is tied up by the thumbs. 

We have cooked up five day'.s ri 
tions and are ready at the first note 
of command to fall in. 1 am ir.i a 
mighty hurry and must make this 
letter brief. .Just another word. One 
of my mates wants me to say a goo(. 
word for him to sister D. He is a 
nice clean fellow and all riglit. His 
only fault is quite common he don't 
think the black race is jus; humar.i 
I can't beat him in argument but 1 
know ii my heart he is wrong about 
these poor wretiChed black peqpie. 
You need not get excited, marching 
orders m^- not mean anythir.ig. 

We may not strike tents for a 
month yet. 

May 30th. 

Was out last night where the 
evening gun, a black cannon booms 
the hour of sunset. A man pulls a 
string called a lanyard and a roar 
that shakes the great bluff follows, 
and all this means sunset. I learn- 
ed last night what it meant in 
French. I was standing near the 
big black cannon which stands al- 
most straight above the river some 
300 feet. A negro sweep doing 
police work, a fine looking mulatto 
was idly leaning upon his shovel and 
staring at a passing boat. Whai^ 
are you thinking about 1 asked? 
Taking off hi-s dirty cap and bowing, 
he answered with a smile, "1 kind 
hates to tell you, but I was thinking 
of my .Jewlarke." I didn't know 
what a Jewlarke was so I asked him. 
"Why Massa he answered just a 
sweetheart." and heui he told nie 
his story how he was a slave in 
Louisina, how he came out as cook 
for his master who was a Lieutenant 
in a Louisina Regiment, how his 
master's cavalry company was sur- 
prised by Union cavalry was fired 

upon by our boys, how he fell down 
to make believe he was dead and 
when our boys came up, he jumiped 
to his feet and came back to Colum 
bus with our boys. He had been at 
work in the fort at Columbus ever 
since. Whenever he spoke he took 
off his cap. I asked him what he 
done that for he said slaves had to 
Jo that in the south, i a.sked liim if 
he was glad he was free and he said, 
"O yes Massa, I would be glad if 1 
had my Kizzie wid me." (Kizzie was 
his sweetheart.) The ipoor fel|low 
took off his hat as he said this and 
slowly replaced it again. I am sure 
I >saw tears ini the fellowt's eyes. 
The song of Nellie Gray came to 
my mind. It disappoints me that 
the negroes have never heard these 
songs. They stare at you when you 
sing them. While we were talking 
the gunner came and fixing the 
lar.iyard pulled the cord with a jerk 
and with a mighty roar that sent a 
tremor thru the bluff and a black 
smoke that hid the river for a mo- 
ment told us that the sun had set 
and the flagman at head quarters 
slowly lowered the stars and stripes. 
Soliquasha, said my colored friend. 
What do you mean by that I asked. 
That is French he replied meaning 
sunset. Here was a slave teaching 
me French. Mother do you know 1 
asked myself Ithis question. what 
right have I simply because I am 
white to be the master race, while 
this man knowing more than I should 
be a slave because he is black. He 
called himself a Creole; that is a 
negro born in Louisina. He said he 
was. born in a Parish nO miles from 
New Orleans. His master raised 
sugar and rice and they toted it on 
two wheel carts to New Orleans 
where they sold it. His Massa's 
plantation was long side a live oak 
swamp that was full of deer- bear 
and aligators. He said the "Gait- 
ors" warnt so bad as folks let on. 
"De niggers had a swimming hole U'j 
de bayou whar an old Gator had 
raised a nest of youcig uus ever 



year. In the winter the gaitors bur- 
ied themselves lilte frogs in ithe 
mud. When they came out in the 
Spring you could hear them bellow 
all night long." I don't know and 1 
don't care whether this fellow was 
stuffing me or not. I was interested. 
ThingvS he said about New Orleans 
and things he told me about his 
master's plantation away back in the 
swamps made me think of the story 
of Uncle Tom's Cabin. It looks as 
tho this war Was to change all this. 
The South ha^ had a mighty soft 
snap with darkies to do their work 
for a hundred years, while their 
masters have grown rich and in- 
solent to us of the north. The papers 
don't say much about it but the 
tjruth is tfcese slaveholders, these 
three hundred and fifty thousand 
chivalrouB southern genitlemen, who 
own some four million of poor ig- 
norant fellows who pushed to tha 
front and mowed down by Union 
(bullet don't know what they are 
fighting for. Love to father, broth- 
er ac<d sister D. 

Your son, 


Columbus, K. Y. 2-5th Wis. Co.G. 
May :50th, ISOrt. 
Dear folks at home: 

The final order came to-night after 
we had gone to bed, to be ready to 
go to Vicksburg by boat in the 
morning. There was a lot of skiirry 
around all the long night. Clothes 
at the washerwoman's had to he 
looked after. I.etters had to ue 
written as I am writing this by the 
dull light of a tallow candle, some 
to wives some to mothers, fathers 
and many to sweethearts. I hoi)e 
there were no unhappy girls be- 
cause of this sudden leaving near 
about Columbus. But I fear there 
was a few. I am quite sure of two 
or three. Well. I am content if we 
must leave Columbus even if it has 
been a sort df "Old Kentucky Home' 
to us for nearly two months. It is 
one o'clock in the morning and the 

lights are yet burning in the tent3. 
In a lot of the tents they are sing- 
ing the "Old Kentucky Home." 1 
guess the boys don't think much of 
its meaning but sing it because we 
are in Old Kentucky. A lot of col- 
ored women are running about the 
tents collecting washing bills. They 
all seem to know that we are to 
leave in the morning. There will 
be a lot of unpaid washing bills, but 
the darkies won't mind it much as 
they are used to working lor noth- 

Max Brill my bunk mate has final- 
ly shut his mouth, so has Delos Al- 
ien and John LeGore niy other tent 
mates, leaving me to blow out the 
light and go to sleep. Will finish 
letter and mail it in the morning. 

May 31st. When we woke up this 
morning we found a great big New 
Orleans side wheel packet laying at 
the wharf waiting to take us on 
board. The roll call found many of 
us still asleep after such a night. 
Many of the boys fell in for roll 
call in nothing but shirts and draw- 
ers. I got on all but my pants and 
shoes. About half the company 
was in the same plight. The order- 
ly was so good natured we gave him 
a good long cheer and ran back to 
our tents to finish dressing. The 
town was crowded with country peo- 
ple mostly colored folks to see us 
leave. The grand march to the boat 
began at ten o'clock and it was near 
three P. M. when we were all pack- 
ed away on the three decks. Our 
company was on the hurricane deck. 
When the black deck hands loosened 
the four inch cable that tied our 
ship to the shore, the Regimental 
band began to play Dixie. The big 
boat floated out into the current, the 
big propelling wheels turned round 
and roiuid in the muddy waters and 
looking back at the big high bluff 
which had been our home so long 
we did not know whether to be glad 
or sorry that we were leaving it. 

There were hundreds to wave us 
goodbye, yes thousands. There were 


loud cheers and good wishes from 
the regiments we left Ijehind. The 
blacks were afraid to come out in 
the open to show their good feeling 
but down by the river bank and from 
behind houses and fences where 
they could not be seen by the whites, 
they threw up their caps and hats 
and danced like crazy. The women 
caughjL their skirts with both hand? 
and bowed and courtesied and some 
dropped upon their knees and held 
their uauds above their head as if 
they were praying. The boys didn't 
seem to notice it much because they 
were niggers, but it made me think 
of some things in Uncle Tom's Cab- 
in. I take one last look at Columbus 
and the fort on the bluff wijth the 
big black cannon peering out over 
the river. We make a bend in the 
river and Columbus is hidden from 

A lot of boys are gathered on the 
forecastle singing "My Old Kentuc- 
ky Home." I suspicion the fellows 
have a homesick streak on, they 
sing with so much feeling. Hick- 
man is in sight but four miles away. 
I must close this line in order to 
mail it there. Those lines of Char- 
les McKay I have heard father quote 
so often come to mind, "Groaning, 
steaming, panting, down the Missis- 
sippi." Your Son, 


Sa Haines Bluff, June 8, 1863. 
25th Wis. Vol. 
Dear father and mother: I've seen 
some tough hours the last three 
days, but am feeling pretty well at 
this writing. Every night the last 
three or four we have been laying 
on our arms, expecting the bugle call 
to fall in for battle. The nights are 
hot and sultry and we lay with noth- 
ing but the sky for covering. You 
know how warm it is in Wisconsin 
in .June but O, Lord it is nothing to 
Mississippi. Corn with you is abouC 
six inches high. Here it is four feet 
higher than a man's head. I never 

j aaw such big corn. While we lay at 
•Satartia the boys went wild raiding 
and foraging the country for any- 
thing they could eat or wear or de- 
stroy, and it was all right, for every 
white man and woman was ready to 
shoot or poison us. The negroes 
were our only friends and they kept 
us posted on what the whites were 
doing and saying. Their masters 
told their slaves that the Yankees 
had horns that they eat nigger ba- 
bies and that they lived in the north 
in houses built of snow and ice and 
that the Yankee soldiers were fight- 
ing to take the niggers back nort*! 
where they would freeze to death 
It is a fright what stories the whites 
tell their slaves. The younger ones 
know better and laugh when they 
speak of it, but some of the real 
black ones just from Africa look 
nervous and scared when the boys 
crowd around them to tease and 
[)lay tricks on them. They seem to 
know what the boys want. They 
bring in chickens, turkeys, eggs, mo- 
lasses, sugar corn pones, smoked 
meat and honey. The boys don't 
treat them right. They cheat them 
out of a lot and their excuse is they 
stole the stuff from their white mas- 
ters. The poor black creatures nev- 
er get mad but just smile and say 
nothing. The day before we left 
Satartia some of our boys raided a 
big plantation, took everything in 
sight and came into camp with a 
mule team and wagon loaded with a 
fancy piano. They put the piano on 
board a steamboat and blindfolding 
the mules which were wild, turned 
them loose in camp. It was a crazy 
thing to do. There was some bee 
hives in the wagon full of honey and 
bees. The mules run over some tents 
nearly killing a lot of soldiers and 
scattering bees and boxes along the 
way. It was fun all right for some 
of the boys got badly stung. 

June Sth. — We have been resting 
on our arms all day awaiting a re- 
port from couriers who are watching 


the rebel General Johnson. He has is what our chaplain calls a roue 
a big tree aucl his plan s.ems to bo Look in the dictionary and see what 

to cut off our ni;,rch to Haines Bluff 
where we would bo in touch with the 
., ain union army. In the afternoon 
we were ordered in line as were ail 
the regiments of the three brigades. 
We were told the rebel army was 
moving our way and to l)e prepared 
at anv moment. 

June 9th.— We lay upon our arms 
all nis^ht. It was not a good night to 
sleep. We expected every hour an 
order to fall in and retreat to Haines 
Bluff. It came at day break. We 
had scarcely time to make coffee 
and fry hard tack. Mounted order- 
lies with clanging sabers were rush-, 
iiig about with orders from head- 
quarters. They would spring from 
their saddles leaving their horse h\ 
charge of a black servant, who al- 
ways met them hat in hand at the 
Colonel's tent. Since daybreak there 
has been a fearful booming of can- 
nons toward the south. - All sorts of 
rumors are flying al)out. One is that 

roue means. I don't w^ant my sister 
to keep company with a roue, if I 
understand the word. Let me tell 
you, my dear girl, most young men 
ain't as good as they ought to be. 
And 1 wish you would l)e more care- 
ful and mind me a little if you are 
older than 1. But T must tell you of 
things here. 

We had a dreadful march from Sa- 
tartia to reach this place. It was a 
killing march. Our Division General 
was a coward, and the march l)egan 
at sunrise and ended at ten o'clock 
that night. It was, a retreat, a per- 
fect rout. The rebel Johnson was 
supposed to be close in our rear with 
a body of cavalry and the orders 
were to iiress forward with all pos- 
sible speed. Through great forests 
and corn fields without end standing 
above our heads, in the hottest sun 
I ever felt, the army became a regu- 
lar mob, every man for himself. Men 
threw aside their coats and blankets 
their testaments and their shirts. 

Johnson has 3umi)ed in on our flank | Hundreds lay down in the corn rows, 
at Snyder's Bluff with his army and 
another report that Grant has storm- 
ed the city of Vicksburg under cover 
of all his big guns. 

If nothing happens will write in a 
dav or two. Your son, 


Haines Bluff, Mississippi, 
Hd. Quarters 25 Wis.. June 11. ISO:'. 
Dear Sister: 

Am ill receipt of your last letter 
but an hour ago. You do write a 
good letter. So full of news, just 
the stuff for a brother in the war to 
read, and you tell things in such a 
good way. It's just like a story in a 
book. You are father's girl all over 
just as mother has often said. How 
I wish I could have some of the fish 

under the trees and on the banks of 
the creeks. Many -of them in the 
faint of a sunstroke, others fanning 
themselves or cursing those in com- 
mand. The constant roar of besiee- 
ing mortar and cannon at Vicksburg 
grew louder and louder as we ad- 
vanced. The aml)ulances and the 
ammunition and supply wagons that 
followed were full of men unable to 
march, long liefore night. You know 
that father always said T was moth- 
er's boy because T never was tired or 
never sick till I went into the army. 
It was about 4 o'clock in the after- 
noon. I had lost sight of every man 
of Company G, and w^as marching 
with a bunch of Indiana boys. I had 
divided the water with them I had 
in my canteen. 1 had thrown away 
i a woollen sliirt and torn mv blanket 

you tell of catching, only T don't like : in two and left a part of that to 
"the fellow that took you home that , lighten my load. My cartridge box 
time. He is nice looking and knows w'as the heaviest thing we had, every 
how to say pleasant things, but he j man was loaded with all the bullets 


he could carry, for we expected to 
need them. 1 was just about fainting 
with tlie lieat when one of the Indi- 
ana boys said, "my boy you better 
lay down, your lace is awful red." 
We were on the bank of a muddy 
creek. 1 walked away from the road 
up anions: the trees and after taking 
a drink fn.m the creek I lay down in 
the shade of a tree with no one in 
sight and fell asleep. When 1 opened 
my eyes the sun was down and it 
was just gotlint; dark. For a minute 
I didn't know where 1 was nor what 
had h:ii)i)ened. Then the march and 
the mix-up of the day all came back 
to me. Here and there I could see 
through the woods the light of the 
camp tires. T went back to the road 
where 1 left my Indiana friends five 
hours before. T sat down while a 
battery of six guns went by, each 
drawn by six big horses. Then fol- 
lowe-d a rear guard of five or six hun- 
dred cavalry whose sabers and car- 
bines clanged as they rode by. 1 
knew if .Tohnson was so near, these 
cannon and cavalry would not l)e 
passing toward Vieksburg in this 
peaceful way. A straggling group of 
infantry followpd the cavalry and 1 
joinfMl them. T had gone Init a few 
steps when 1 felt a hand upon my 
shoulder. Turning to see who it 
was, what was my delight to see the 
Cai)tain of my company. Captain 
Darwin, smiling upon me. Like my- 
self he too was lost from the com- 
pany. The Captain had ivever looked 
so good to me. He had laid down by 
the road like me, overcome by he.Tt, 
and he was smxious to find the com- 
l^any. Until I found Cai)tain Darwin 
1 was ashamed to think tbat maybe I 
was the only one lost from the com- 
pany. The Captain is a great big 
s'rong man and nice looking. .And 
wiien 1 found the heat had played 
him out just as it had me T took 
coiirage. After calling at about a 
hundred cAmi'i f;es and half as many 
regiments we found our company 
and our regiment. If there is a just 
God he will punish the man that or- 

dered that awful march. It was use- 
less and uncalled for. We hear that 
the (leneral has been at rested and 
win be tried by Court Marshal. Ev- 
ery soldier on that horrid march 
hoi)es he will be punished. 

Tiie air is sickening with the 
stench of decaying fiesh. Mississippi 
is full of cattle running wild in the 
cane brakes, and the boys are shoot- 
ing great, beautiful steers in sight as 
they would rabbits, leaving every 
thing but the choicest parts on the 
ground to smell and stink. Ten 
miles from here the people in Vieks- 
burg are starving for beef to eat and 
where we are camped the air is poi- 
soned with the decaying flesh of ani- 
mals more than we can eat. \\'hat a 
world this is. I am only giving you 
a brief sketch of the important 
things. .Tusl think of the horror of 
"■•0,000 !)eople with half enough to ea^. 
with no rest nor sleep, stormed at 
with shot and shell, night and day in 
the city of Vicksbnrg. They have 
dug holes U!ider their houses and in 
the bluffs and on The river side to 
get away from the shot and bursting 
shell (if T^nion guns. They can't get 
anything more to eat outside the city 
so tlley eat horses and mules to keep 
alive. O. but the poor wretched 
whites that let the rich slave hold- 
ers drag them into this war. The 
negroes tell us the rich white man 
in the south looks down on the poor 
white trash who has no slaves, as 
much as he does on the black man. 
And the common soldier in the rebel 
army is awful ignorant. There ain'r 
one in ten that can read or write, 
and they think the Dutch boys in 
our army were hired in Germanv 
and came over just to fight them, f 
have just been notified by the Order- 
ly Sargeant that T am to go on picket 
duly to-morrow and to i)ut my gun in 
order. Tiie reports that we get every 
hour from the pickets that men are 
lieing shot reminds us that we are 
not in sleepy old Columbus. Kentuc- 
ky any more, where we could go to 
sleep without danger, except from 


the officer of the guard. I'll let you 
know in a few days how nice it is to 
do picket duty in the cane brakes of 
Mississippi within gun shot of the 
enemy's line. I haven't the least 
fear of danger, sister and I am feel- 
ing real good after a two days' rest 
of racket and roar of big guns that 
put me to sleep nights and waken me 
in the morning. There is an army 
of some 15,000 men around us and 
between here and Vicksburg. Love 
to all, father, mother and the boys. 

P. S. — There is a rumor at this mo- 
ment that we are to counter march 
for iSatartia to-morrow. I'll bet it is 
a false rumor. Your brother, 


Haines Bluff, Missisisppi, 
June 15, 1863. 
Dear father: 

I sent sister D. a letter some days 
ago and promised to tell her some- 
thing of picket duty close to the 
enemy's line, next time I wrote. I 
made some notes in my memoran- 
dum every evening so I enclose 

June 10th, 6 o'clock P. M. Have 
just come in from the picket line 
where I have been for four hoiirs 
during the day, from ten to twelve 
this morning and from four to six 
this afternoon. Will go on again to- 
night at 10 o'clock for two hours and 
again at four o'clock in the morning 
until six. 

It has been a blistering hot day, 
but I have kept in the shade of some 
great trees most of the time. My 
beat is about as far as from the 
house to the creek, on a ridge, some 
thing like the little hill behind the 
house. The soldier whose place I 
took this morning, belonged to the 
Jersey Zouaves, told me it would be 
nice during daylight, but to look out 
to-night. He said he had seen thf 
glint of a gun l)arrel last night in 
the edge of the cane brake. He ad 
vised me to keei) my eyes peeled and 
stay as much as possible in the shad- 
ow of the trees. I asked him how 1 

could do that and obey orders to 
keep pacing his beat. He said 1 
don't give a damn for orders when I 
am alone here at midnight, and the 
officer of the guard asleep in his 
tent miles from here. One thing he 
said, you will hear a lot of hogs 
grunting in the cane brakes. May- 
be they are hogs and maybe they 
ain't. Some of the boys have been 
shot by those hogs, so look out. 
These Jersey Zouaves are supposed 
to be dare devils, simply afraid of 
nothing. They wear fancy uniforms 
covered with yellow braid and all 
soris of yellow stripes. The rebel 
soldiers hate these Zouaves and try 
to shoot them wherever they can. 
They are toughs picked up from tiie 
prisons and jails of the cities. Noth- 
ing happened worth mentioning dur- 
ing the day. From my beat I could 
see the Yazoo River and miles of 
corn fields on the west now tramped 
down and ruined. On the east where 
the enemy line extends are deep for- 
ests and dense cane brakes. All day 
long hundreds of men, yes, thou- 
sands were chopping down the trees, 
felling them toward the enemy, and 
sharpening the limbs so that they 
would be hindered and at the mercy 
of our guns if they tried to charge 
our lines. 

Columns of smoke from burning 
buildings fills the sky, and this af- 
ternoon a south wind brought the 
smell of smoke from the big cannon 
that keep up their awful roar about 

June 12th, 9 o'clock A. M. After 
a rather wakeful night we ai"e back 
to quarters in camp and while wait- 
ing for coffee to boil will jot down a 
note or two. The air about the camp 
smells better this morning. Several 
hundred carcasses of cattle left to 
rot in the sun were buried yesterday. 
The smell had got to be terrible. I 
remembered what the Zouave told 
me when T went on guard last night 
and I kept my eyes wide ojien and 
my ears too. during the two hours of 
midnight. I heard some rustling in 


the cane thicket on my left but the 
sound seemed to recede rather than 
come nearer so I concluded it was 
some animal. I don't think I was 
afraid the least hit. until midnight 
the boom of cannons at Vickshurg 
and the half circling tlery curves of 
the shells and the sudden lighting of 
the sky when they burst gave me 
something to see and to think of. 
From four till six this morning the 
firing at Vicksburg had nearly 

June 1 Uh. A letter of May 23rd 
from home to-day. I am glad a^ 
ever a boy could he, who is in love 
with his home. T had wondered why 
no letter came. I wish father had 
sent me some stamps. Money won't 
buy them here. They seem to for- 
get my request for stamps. Saw D. 
D. I.oomis yesterday, of the second 
csivalry. Sam, as they call him, is 
in good health and spirits. He is a 
sort of an assistant to the Pommis- 
sary looking after the horses and ra- 
tions. The 8th Wis. too, is here. 11 
still carries the Eagle The order 
for our return to Satartia up the Ya- 
zoo has l)een recalled. I am glad. 
The fact is, too many of our Regi 
ment were Ijoat out on the march 
here. There are nearly :!00 men un- 
der the doctor's care as a result of 
that 'i^ mile march. Tf the water 
was good we would be happy. 
Blackberries are plenty and nice. 
Our Regiment went out last night 
three miles to support a battery 
planted on a ridge. We lay on our 
arms all night without being dis- 
turbed by the rebs. This place will 
be retaken by the rebels if possible. 
Every precaution is being taken to 
secure it against attack. .Tohnson 
jfnd biagg are on their way here 
with an army to drive us out, but 
Old Rose, that is Rosencranze, is 
following them and we ain't afraid. 
Row many troops we have here, T 
don't know, but somewhere between 
twenty and forty thousand. T» 
drive us from here will cost the rebs 
a good lot of blood, and they know it. 

This is an easy country to fortify, 
just about as hilly as Buffalo County 
and the sides of the hills ten times 
harder to scale, because of the tim- 
ber we have fallen against the ene- 
my and dense jungle of cane brakes. 
It's nearly impossible to get through 
a Mississippi cane brake. Here is 
where our fish poles come from. 

There has been a lull in the firing 
at Vicksburg. There is a rumor thai 
the Confeds have made a breach 
and are retreating up the Black Riv- 
er. Another story ii that Jeff Davis 
is inside the City and Pemberton has 
asked a parley with a view to sur- 
rendering. Everybody is looking to- 
ward Vicksbuig and wondering why 
the thunder of the guns has stopped. 
Another rumor says General Grant 
has mined their forts and has given 
them twelve hours to surrender and 
if they refuse the chain of forts will 
be blown u]). 

Have just heard that i)oor Orlando 
Adams, my chum from Mondovi, is 
dead. He tried to get a furlough 
but failed. I was afraid when I bid 
him good bye in Columbus, Ken- 
tucky, I should never see him again. 
The poor fellow cried when we left 
him to go south. Orlando never re- 
covered from the effect of the mea- 
sles. He wanted so bad to go home 
to die, but the rules had been strict 
agalnsi furloughs. Big Bill Ander- 
son of Durand had just peeped in 
my tent and asked about my health. 
He gave me some blackberries. He 
said he had been out foraging for 
the sick boys. Bill is a wild fellow, 
but he has a great big heart and I 
know he is sicker this minute than 
some of the boys he is nursing. 

You may send this letter over to 
sister D. Your son, 


Snyder's Bluff, Miss. 
Hd. Quarters 25tTi. Wis. Vol. Inft. 
Dear father: 

Since my last letter we have 
QBoved our position to within eight 
Bll«9 of Vicivsburg. Yesterday elev- 


tc nf Rurnside-s corps ( rlay at ten o'clock. Every gun is ex- 
Zr^:-^ o^ ^^;^-. wiU. 1 an^ne. an. wo- -e -^ ^^ 
his well known f^^^. ^^^f ff ^^^ It what hour day or night the roll of 
also. His "^^" 2"^f„,^^„ J valleys the drum will call us into line of bat- 
near a ,god. The lulls and ^^^^^^^ ^j^ ^ „oti,ed in a copy of the Alma 
for miles and miles are 1 t^^'^^ j„^^„^j , ,^„t ^^ that the people 
white with tents, and the mus c o ^^ p^ji^^^j^ton, had t)een subscribing 
bands from morning till ^^^J^^^j^j U^nds for the V. 3. Sanitary commis- 
•ringing in our ears^ ' ", less than sion. The ol)ject is a noble one and 
^Z^H^r^^rte^^ w?Uiln a I am glad the^Gilmanton folks have 

twenty-five thousand tents >w..^^^, ^^^^ .^^^ ^^^^.^ ^^^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^ .^ 
circumference of e^- '^t jniie.. ^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^, ^^ anything 

of dust from moving troops hli t^ ^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ hundred dollars he 
air in every direction. Se^ erai^^^^^^ l ^^^ ^^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ ^ ^^^.^^^^ 
teries of artil ery are j i - ^ school in our valley when T enlisted? 

six to eight big ^l^o^^es t°e«^^;?;'^' Don't say anything about it. If he 
and the men ^'^ding on the ca^sion^ ^^.^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^.^^^^ ^^ ^^ ^^^,^^ ^^^ 

nrp hreathmig a constant i^muut, i,„„^^„,i 

are hreathinfe « , ^ • 

They don't have to walk that is one 
thing in their favor, but I don t thmk 
r would like the battery ^ service^ 
Rumor is still in the air tha> the 

!^^t 'Sr^'^ar'Sroughr'Sp jdier^s hWe or;st^,;pit^;pla^, ^wh^r 

right. I don't care for his hundred 
dollars. But of course as he volun- 
teered to give it I never can think 
as much of him for lying about it. 
This sanitary commission is a sol- 

Cxeneral Pemberton in Vickshur 
That is the reason for so many bat^ 
teries and infantry coming here and 
taking positions at this time. I am 
sure a hundred thousand rebe s 
could not break our lines at this 
point We have three lines of heavj 
fortifications with lotteries every 
eighty rods. Several thousand spadeb 
are kept constantly busy strength- 
ening the lines. Our regiment was 
out yesterday on spade duty, i sup- 

ever a soldier happens to be, in any 
town in the north. He is given a 
bed and meals free of charge and 
medicine and care if he is sick. 
They are in the border states as wel' 
too, where our troops are in posses- 
sion. If they are out of money they 
can stay weeks or months without 
cost until they get money or trans- 
portation to go on. 

Of course the good people of Gil- 
manton, expect to cele])rate the 4th 

- - ,.^ „ ,^< '^f Hi'oicine but for of -l^'y and I expected to be with 

^";'pS I don't tthink^^I did more I them when I enlisted but I shall not 

than an hour's work, and am sure 
.1 worked as hard as aiiylmdy. It 
takes the darkies to dig. One hun- 
dred negroes will shovel as mucn 
dirt as a thousand yankee soldiers, 
and sing plantation songs all the 
time I went out a mile yesterday 
on the second line to see them w-ork 
and hear them sing. Most of then- 
songs are love songs, and it's always 
something about the cotton and the 
cane fields. Rules are mighty strict 
and getting stricter every day. Oui' 
main work is to clean and polish u!> 
pur guns, and to see that our car 

be there. I am glad to hear you say 
that my sjielling is better than it 
was, althouigh you don't find my 
writing any better. You say I don't 
write any plainer than Horace 
Clreely. Well, there were some that 
managed to read Greely and what 
the world found in his writings 
makes me rather glad that my pen- 
manship is no lietter Ihan his. 

I am glad that sister D. secured a 
school. She don't write me so often 
any more. What's the matter with 
her? If the folks at home could 
know what happy fools it made of 

pur guns, ana to see i"^"- - - ^.^ to get letters, they would write 

tridge and cap \'«^^« J'^^^^^^^t^^^'every more of them and longer ones. I 
We have inspection of arms every ^ 

have half a mind to confess that T 
have had the bines for a couple of 
days. I have had a touch of inter- 
mittant fever. Hundreds of the boys 
are under the care of the doctor for 
chills and fever. We are drinking 
water a little better than poison, and 
the niasma of this Yazoo River is 
getting in its work. The cannonad- 
ing about Vicksl)urg is fiercer than 
ever. Last night the doctor gave 
me some infernal stuff for my fever 
that kept me awake. It must have 
been midnighl before I got to sleep. 
I lay with the flap of my tent thrown 
back watching the shells from a 
hundred mortars, making a fiery 
half-circle as rising like a flaming 
rocket they circled and fell into the 
city, then followed the explosion. 
How can those people sleep? 1 
should think the people of that city 
would be perishing lor sleep. There 
has not been an hour the three 
weeks past Init shells have been 
bursting in every jiart of the city. 
There was a bunch of about fifty 
rebs passed our camp yesterday tak- 
en at Vicksburig in a charge upon 
our works. They were put upon a 
boat at this landing for transporta- 
tion to the north. They tell awful 
tales of hunger and want of sleep in 
Vi(;ksburg. It takes half the people 
all the time to put out the fires 
started by our shells and they have 
no flour and only horse and mule 

They hinted that .letf Davis was 
inside the lines. The story isn't be 
lieved, but everybody is talking 
about it. It pleases me that Elder 
:\lorse likes my letters. 1 told Henry 
what his father said about his writ- 
ing and he merely laughed. Henry 
Morse is sick at this time with chills 
nnd fever. It is a common sickness 
on this Yazoo River. 

There is talk that the city will l)e 
stormed from the entire ten miles of 
line this week. A victory here and 
the surrender of Pemberton would 
open the Mississi))))i to the gulf, 

then hurrah for Virginia and a 
healthier climate. 

Send me some stamps as money 
won't buy stamps down here. Tell 
her an aunt Dinah or a Topsy black 
as to show her how to bake hoe 
mother when I come back I'll bring 
cake in the fire ])lace and roast po- 
tatoes in hot ashes. 

Love to all, Your son, 


Hd. Quarters 25th Wis. Vol., 
Snyder's Bluff, Miss., .luly 1, 1863. 
Dear Father: 

It has been some time since writ- 
ing you last, but we have had a busy 
time coming and going and maneu- 
vering, that is our regiment has been 
on the move for more than a week 
and no chance to write a letter nor 
to mail one. A week ago yesterday 
our regiment got orders to go to Cy- 
press Bend, on the Arkansas side 
the river 200 miles up the river to 
capture or diperse a band of guer- 
rillas that were firing from ambus'a 
along the shore on the passing 
steamers, trying to kill the pilots 
and cripple the boats. They have 
even fired into Hosi)ital boats that 
were flying hospital flags. Every 
able bodied man in our regiment, 
about six hundred, were ordered in- 
to line, guns and ammunition in- 
spected. The next morning we 
boarded the Dexter, . Mississi))pi 
boat that reached nearly across the 
Yazoo River, and were soon pushing 
down toward the father of waters. 
The idea of riding on the Mississippi 
again and heading toward home 
made us happy. .And we figured on 
having a good drink soon as our boat 
touched the muddy wafers of th« 
big river that we somehow loved 
just because it flowed by our homes. 
We had just been i)aid off for two 
months and the boys had a good fill 
of oysters and store crackers. [ 
only got six dollars though. I had 
drawn some extra clothing and my 
little thirteen dollars was cut to 
three dollars a month It was so 


long ago I got the clothes, I began 
to think the clothes were forgotten. 
Uncle Sam"s Paymasters have a 
good memory. Just as I am writing 
this the Silver Moon, a Ya/,00 steam- 
er, is passing up the Yazoo toward 
Haines Bluff. She has a Calliope 
and it is playing Nellie Gray. She is 
loaded with hard tack and bales of 
hay clear to the water line and her 
half naked deck hands lying around 
on the hay bales look like so many 

She gave us the right of way and 
we pushed on down this river whose 
water though clear and tempting we 
dared not drink. The boys kept 
cracking away at the alligators that 
lay on logs and drift wood on the 
sand banks. The scaly things would 
flounder into the water and sink 
oiit of sight. Some of them looked 
to be seven or eight feet long, more 
of them were three or four feet. 

We reached Young's Point in the 
evening and waite'l there all night 
for some cavalry and a battery that 
was to accompany us. We were just 
out of cannon range of Vicksburg_ I 
lay on the hurricane deck of our 
boat and with my head bolstered up 
on my knapsack so I could see. I 
watched the fire of our gun boats in 
sight of us down the river as broad- 
side after broad-side was poured in- 
to the city. Every discharge would 
come up the river like a great roll 
of thunder., It may seem strange 
to you but all the first part of that 
night I was thinking more of home 
than of the things going on around 
me. It seemed as if the shells from 
the mortars went up into the clouds 
a half mile and then would drop in a 
circle of fire into the city of Vicks- 
burg. They looked like meteors 
only their track was red and they 
would often hurst before they reach- 
ed the ground. 1 don't think I got 
to sleep before midnight and when 
T woke up the sun was shining. 

.Tune 26th. Our battery and Caval- 
ry regiment came at nine o'clock 
and at eleven o'clock we swung into 

the great river with bow headed up 
stream. Soon as we got fairly into 
the current the boys made a rush 
for the boiler deck to get a drink of 
the wa^,er that came from the lakes 
and springs of Wisconsin and Min- 
nesota. It was dirty and muddy 
and we saw dead nmles and cattle 
floating by and knew that it was the 
sewer for all the filth of the north- 
ern states, but whether we were dry 
or not we drank, and drank, until it 
ran out of our nose just because it 
came from the glorious north. 

Well, all that day as we steamed 
up the great river -ve lay round and 
talked, dreamed and Ipafed. Ther^ 
was scarcely a break in the deep, 
dark forests that came right down to 
the river bank. Our guns were 
loaded and we had them in hand all 
day because we were warned that 
we might be attacked at any mo- 
ment. We had in our fleet four 
transports loaded with troops, and 
three gunboats with heavy brass 

June 27th. The Aveather is awful- 
ly hot. We are tied up at Cypress 
Bend where all the attacks have 
been made on passing vessels. Our 
boats are tied to the Arkansas shore. 
We had a rain last night that gave 
us on the top a good wetting, but 
the air this morning is cooler for 
the rain. The gun boats anchored 
amid stream and sent a lot of shells 
over into the woods beyond tlie 
plantation that lays along the shore. 
The idea was to draw the fire of the 
rebel forces, but nothing came of 
our firing. The cavalry was landed 
at noon and deployed as scouts 
across the 1>ig bend in the river. .\t 
seven o'clock we ran to the Missis- 
sipi)i side and tied up for the night. 
Ever thing was quiet for the night. 
There Avere some ooats calling to 
our guards as they passed during 
the night to finfr out if the river 
was clear to Vicksburg. Next morn- 
ing we went on shore, both cavalry 
and infantry under cover of our gun 
boats. They first sent a few shells 


screaming through the tree tops a 
mile or two inland as a sort of feel- 
er, but getting no reply the batter- 
ies, cavalry and infantry went 

This letter will be finished next 

Cypress Bend, Arkansas, 

July 2nd, 1S6;J. 

Dear Father; 

We were deployed a good half 
mile in line soon as we got ashore 
in a grove of timber that lay be- 
tween the river bank and the man- 
sion of the planter and the village 
of negro huts that flanked the big 
house on the right and left. This 
plantation worked nearly 500 slaves 
we were told. The mansion wa.s 
built on piers like most homes of the 
South, ten or twelve feet above the 
ground; the basement surrounded 
by a lattice and serving as kitchen 
and laundry and living place for the 
house servants. We had orders to 
make a oareful examination of the 
place as It was thought the guerril- 
las we were after had made this 
place their headquarters. I was 
among the first to reach the house. 
There were no whites in sight but 1 
saw a few scared looking black 
faces who got out of sight as we 
came near. Some of the boys had 
talked with the blacks who denied 
that there had been any rebels 
quartered there. We knew the ne- 
croes were lying. We found, where 
there had been beds and lots of ash 
heaps where ther6 had been camj) 
fires and the tracks of horses and 
scaitering corn fodder. Five or six 
of us went to the stairway and 
opened the door leading on to the 
gallery .Tust as we stepped in the 
wide hall, three women, an old grey 
haired lady and two young ladies 
came up to us and asked us not to 
come into the house. The oldest 
one pleaded pitifully, wringing and 
rubbing her hands first one and then . 
the other, and then reaching out fter ' 

hands toward us as far as she could 
urging us to stay out, all the while 
crying and at times screaming as if 
her heart was breaking. She said 
her mother was sick and likely to 
die and begged us to go away. I 
never felt meaner m my life. The 
Co. K. man who did the talking told 
her we had orders to search the 
house for rebels and w-e had to do 
it. He tried to say something by 
way of excuse. One of the boys 
pushed by the girls and opened a 
closet in the wall. The girl jumped 
into the door and with tears stream- 
ing down her face begged him to 
stay out. There is nothing in here 
she said but the wardrobe and rel- 
ics of my dying mother. She took 
him by the arm and pushed him 
away and closed the door. The 
house was soon crowded with sol- 
diers and the door of the closet 
opened and examined but we found 
nothing but dresses and cloaks and 
bonnets and blankets. I got asham- 
ed and wished that I was out of it. 
T went back into the big hall and 
found a book case. I stuck Long- 
fellow's Hiawatha in my pocket and 
Kd Coleman and Elder Harwood 
(how National Chaplain of the G. A. 
R.) took turns with me reading it on 
our return to Snyder's Bluff. When 
I went outside I found several build- 
ings on fire. The orders had been 
not to set any fires, but nobody 
cared and nobody would tell Sud- 
denly a report came in that a body 
of rebels had been seen by our cav- 
alry some four miles inland. We 
hurriedly got into line and for two 
hours marched back through the 
deepest, darkest forest I over saw. 
All at once there came the ring of 
rifles on every side.- The ranks 
were broken and men supposed to 
be brave as lions dodged right and 
left, while others fired their guns 
out of pure fright with no enemy in 
sight. It had turned out that we 
had stiri)rised a company of rebel 
cavalry who were boiling coffee for 
an afternoon lunch and after empty- 


ing their carbines at our cavalry 
scouts and giving us a good surprise 
they retreated in every diren'ioii 
through the woods. U was luci<y 
for us after all. We hail .just i)ullcd 
ourselves together for a forward 
march when scouts came galloi)iiig 
up with the news that l.cOO rebels 
under the command of Marmaduke 
was flanking us on both sides and 
had already i)lanted cannon on tlie 
cross roads between us and the riv- 
, er. Tn less time than I am telling 
you we were counter marching at 
double quick. We made four cross 
roads to the big plantation and at 
every one of them we expected to 
be raked by rebel cannister and 
grape. Before we reached the last 
cross road, shells from our gun 
boats were screaming over our 
heads and bursting in our rear, 
scattering de;ith amongst the relis 
as it seemed to us letting us get 
back into the open of cotton field of 
the big plantation with not a man 
lost. But it was music to hear 
those shells ripping through the 
tree tops on their rpission of death 
We knew it meant our salvation 
and death to the rebels. When we 
got back to the big plantation we 
found nearly all the l)uildings on 
fire save the mansion alone. The 
barns, gin house, saw mill, and ini- 
rrense drying sheds, were all abla/.e 
sending u]) columns of black smoke. 
The cavalry that followed us told us 
that we hnd bnrely crossed the last 
r'ross road when the reliels planted 
a battery not fifty rods from our line 
of retreat so as to rake us at the 
crossing with cannister. There is 
no doubt our gun boats that kept up 
a rapid fire over our heads was a 
mighty lucky thing for us. The reb- 
els had three men to our one and 
knew every road and van I age point 
but for our brass war dogs they 
Avould have made it hot for us. We 
boarded our boats and with oqe gun 
boat for convoy, leaving two al the 
bend for protection to passing ves 

sels reached our old quarters on the 
Yazoo yesterday. 

Don't forget to send a paper now 
and then. You are right when you 
sui)pose it is hot down there. Da,n 
hadley and Henry Morse are both 
on the sick list and about twenty - 
five others you don't know in I he 
company I am glad to hear that 
you have, help for harvest. I hope 
mother won't need to go in the hay- 
field this summer nor rake up grain. 
It is too hard work and it don t seem 
right. I loaned all my stamps and 
I must hunt one to send this letter. 
Love to mother and the res;. 

Your bov, 

Snyder's Bluff. Miss.. .Tuly 15. 186?;. 
Hd. Quarters 2.jth Vol. 
Dear Brother : 

1 have for many days thoug'it of 
writing to you, first because I like 
you and second because you are not 
writing to me as often as you ought. 

Since the surrender of "Vicksbnrg 
on the fourth of this month there 
has been all sorts of rumors as to 
our future movements. The late 
battles won by the army of the Po- 
tomac along with the victory over 
Pemberton here at Vicksburg. some- 
how makes us boys feel that the end 
of the war is near. O, if you could 
have seen and heard what T have 
these ten days past. Pemberton had 
nearly .'!0 thousand all surrendered 
to Grant on the 4th of this month. 
And they were glad to be prisoners 
and iiaroled to go to their homes. 
They cursed the war and called it a 
nigger war. T heard lots of them 
say that had never owned a nigger, 
that they were fooled and wished 
they had stayed at home. The bom- 
bardment of Vicksburg the night of 
the surrender was fearful. The 
clouds above the city looked blond 
red as if they were all on fire. Th« 
Thunder of the cannon for two or 
three nights and the rumor of sur- 
render kept us awake. We, that were 
rather on the sick list with chills 


and fe.ver. were pre' ^\ ; ii <ious at 
tile reports that the '•r' i<l General 
loliiii-on was daily preparin.u; to ::' 
fru-R lis. ' Since the b^iiiender "'- 
Iroops by brigades -^"-i dlvis'-j" : 
have gradually withdrawn. .\11 this 
means tliat the danger of attack is 

. \\niile 1 ani writing this lettei- our 
scouts have l.rought in word that 
file rebel General .Tohnaon has been 
bapKPd with OHOUU trooi)s. Some of 
the boys are wild over the news, 
others simply, smile and say it's 
nothing but a false runio'-. • Whether 
it is true or false you will know by 
the papers before this reaches you. 

Some of the boys were down to 
the city of Vicksburg to-day. They 
Slid It was a pretty nice place, Vnit 
it was badly shot up. Nearly half 
tlie town had been burned and the 
streets were torn up bv our shells. 
It costs twenty dollars in confeder- 
:'ti> money to get a meal, and one 
d'lllar In U. S. Greenbacks. The 
darkies were filling un the town and 
grinning and showing their whito 
tc(>th at every corner. Grey headed 
I'iggpis and pretty rpiardoons begged 
the sf)ldiers for money and blessed 
.\braliam Lincoln for sending them 
south to make them free. Most of 
the bnvs hate the blacks and sav 
liRrd thinsis about them. T never 
fon ff^rret tbnt father tohl me at .\^r, 
Fulb>r's Place when T got in the 
\Mig(ui after that awful trood dinner, 
to £ro to .Mma. ^ou remember it 
brother W. He said, if you evev 
get a chance, niv boy. taVp e'ood aim 
and shoot twice to free the black, 
while shooting once for the TTnion. 

T don't dare sav anythina like th'.=; 
to the bovs. because tbev woull 
laiii^h at me. But T have read enough 
to know that Pbitiips was ri^bt and 
Garrison was rirbt and he thouerht 
as thev did. .\nd T thought for days 
after going to T a Crosse of tPc tears 
T saw in his eves as he asked nio 
alwavs to remember the slave. 

Well, brother, to change the suh- 
iect. have yon killed any prairie 
chicks tliis summer? It is nearlv 

time for pigeons again. Good Lord, 
how I hope I can be with you to eat 
ypeckled trout and iirairie chicks 
his fall. 

I am writing this upon my b'lck. 
The doctor gave me something for 
my fever that makes my head whirl. 
f\"hen he came to my tent this 
morning I asked him if I was very 
sick. When I told him T was seven- 
teen he said, you ought to have be(?n 
thrashed and keiJt at home two 
years longer. 1 told the doctor that 
he looked sick himself, and he ad- 
mitted he Was not; feeling well. 
(This doctor diod within ten days of 
the date of this letter.) 

Say, how are the neighbors com- 
ing? How does Geo. Cartwrlght be- 
have? Does he ana uncle Ed. cook 
up twice as much hay as you and 
father? What doe« Edward Cass 
busy himself about? Has he and 
father got that big tield fenced in 
yet? And Maggie C, is she as pretty 
and haughty as ever? How does 
Tim Pierce prosper this summer? 
Has he commenced that brick house 
he never tired of tolling about? T 
sometimes wish lightning had struck 
that man. father then might have 
got a better farm. Pierce took fath- 
f^r in just because he was too honest. 
no the cows break in the fields any 
tin's summer? Does mother make 
lots of cheese and butter? Great 
heavens, what butter and cheese 
mother could make. When those 
people from St. Louis c^ame through 
there and praised mother's bread 
and butter T thouirht they were fool- 
ing, but now. I know they were tell- 
•ng the truth. Well, I have got some 
soft bread to-day noon, some biscuit 
T bought of a settler. .And I have 
sojne butter 1 paid -jft conts for and 
some coffee. Dfm't you think I hare 
a first rate suiiper? .lust like the 
little boy in the third render who 
was happy over his porridge alone 
when he discovered that evprythin.>;: 
else of the meal ha.d been stolen. 

T.ove to yourself, father, mother 
and sister H. Vour brother. 


Suvder Bluff. Misfj., July 19, 1863. 
25111 Kegt. Wis. Vol. luft. 
Dear SiMer: 

1 got your much valued IfettPr 
t-oiUainlng your iikeneMS tit^arly two 
\\ct>k9 ago. 1 Was pretty sick if 
that time with tlie fever, the Ya/oo 
Tever. SiJice then T have written 
home. Just two weeks ago I was 
taken with the chills the clay after 
the fall of VMcksburg. But 1 ain't 
alone, there are thousands alom* 
this river of death, that's what th(^ 
boys have named the Yazoo, thai 
are on their back« just like me. 

The Qoctor hSH knocked the ohM!'! 
for the time at least, though they 
have made me weak. Dan Hadley 
and Bill .\nder3on look in on m^ 
once in a while to see that I want 
for nothing. All the other boya that 
are well have their patients too. 
Kvery fellow has his chum to wait 
on him. It rained night before las' 
and all day yesterdiiy and there was 
a hot steam ri.sing from the groun.l. 
But it settled the dust and the mov- 
ing troops don't kick up any dust. 
We can hear the scream of boats on 
the Afississippi and Yazoo night and 
day. Troops are being ship'M^d un 
aij'l down the river noints fast n ; 
boats can get here, flpveral battp- 
ies liave passed to-day with six and 
eight big sleek horses to each gun. 
The gunnerfi were laughing and 
^•ailing to one another like a bunch 
of school boys. Moving infantry is 
constantly in sight, .\ regiment of 
cHvalry is just now trotting slowly 
by. Their salier scabboards freshlv 
scoured look Itright in the sun nul 
their horses after their long rest are 
acting pretty wild. I often wish 1 
had got transferred to the cavalry 
like Kd. Cartwright did :it the fir-t, 
There is a little more danger but 
you don't have to Avalk and that 
saves a soldier a lot. 

They are fitting out sonin Hpsi)ital 
boats and after the troors fit for 
service are transiiorto'l the sick and 
convalescent will he taken to North- 
ern hospitals. 1 hear that some 
three huncjred in our regiment are 

TI-o night 


■ •■ ■. - "■ - 

to be put on. I dont know whether 
I fall within that last or not. but t 
feat* i &0 

Th& doctor says we can't recruit 
in this hot climate but must get 
farther north. Wo are looking for 
marching orders atiy day. frr some 
point up the ri\rr r»e far as Mem 
phis. Tenn.. or ijerha-i,'^' to Kentucky. 
Mensus Buniii has jiit been in. to 
see me. He p^aid ! nifi'le myf4flf pi 'l< 
by eating a Mtoll* ("'M o! 
What n^ mea-it wa."* tbi 
we went on hoard for Cypress !V-^ 1. 
, we had just ha'J c;:- pay and th.» 
I boys were b'mrrv ♦'^r n'^Tc ^i^Vq f 
j l>ought a can of oy.-ters took it on 
the boat for fear the boys would 
steal it from me when I was asleep. 
(\te it all up that night. T knew it 
WHS too much hut I never thought 
oysters would hurt a fellow. 

Sister D. your picture suits me to 
a dot. Your face never looked so 
fco'l to me before and your letters, 
sav my dear girl, you have a won- 
derful k n a c k of telling things. 
Mother alwavs said you were fath- 
er's Rirl. I shall be glad when T can 
('o as we'! as you. Yon remember 
Mr. Rosman used to say T was al- 
wa- s chi'-'ning in when you tried to 
tc'l somethins; a.lout catching trout 
or I'^out father's shooting a deer or 
a bear. Well, sonietbings you would 
fo»-:Tet. and T tried to help you out. 
Sav. .sistf'r I haven't forgot how you 
WfM'ld p"iM me for these thing.=? 
wheTi wp would be going back over 
the hill liome the next day. Laying 
here on mr hack under a tent of thin 
cotton cloth, under a hot southern 
sun T can't help thinking, thinking, 

Pay, f'v Oeorpe. how T wish I could 
have some of that strawberry short 
cake. Tyaivl of Goshen. T can tast.» 
it now. We have no strawberr'es 
lilt oceans of blackberries. Wo 
have nlentv of sugar to go with 
them but no cream. 

Well it's getting dull here, most 
of the troops in sight save our Bri- 
gade have gone north or out to fol- 
low up the Rebel Johnson's scatter- 


ed army. It has been sj cjniet and 
still shice the surrender of Vickcs- 
I)urgh it seeras dull enough. It is 
only three miles to th(> i ar and V": 
l)oys that are able run ''i often ;t~ 
they can get a pass. 

The black freednien are coniin.? 
in from the country by the thousand 
and going north to enlist. Several 
men from our regiment have offered 
to go OS officers in the black regi- 
ments. They are doing with the 
R'ftves just what Gen. Freemont 
asked Lincoln to do at the beginning 
of the war. This is. set the blacks 
free and make soldler.'a of them, ff 
you had not sent me stamps, I could 
not send you this letter. I am glad 
yon like your school. Only look out 
for the fellow who lives so near. 
You should go home as often as 
po.4Hil>le and help mother and take 
<are of sister E. They say she is a 
dreadful nice girl. Wonder if she 
isn't a bit like her older brothe '. 
Sorry f offended i)retty Maggie Cass 
when I wrote her the bla'^k people 
were human beings and had souls. 
So she says she wont write me anv 
more? Well unless I run against ;i 
rebel bullet or a hard dcse of Yazoo 
fever I'll try and outlive her f^corn. 

Sam T.oomis's company is camn- 
ing about two miles from here 11*? 
comes down once in a while to visit 
uss. He looks i)retty thin but his 
duties as commissary are pretty 
light so he ought to stand it. I most 
forgot to tell you, Henry Morse an*! 
Daniel Hrylley have l)een aick for 
the last six weeks. They have been 
getting lietter. O, how did you pass 
the Uh of .July? I was on picker 
duty that day though sick enough to 
be in bed. It's the fashion of sol- 
diers to run on comrades who com- 
plain of lieing sick. They call it 
playing off. T have noticed that the 
fellows that do that kind of jibing 
are infernal cowards themselves. T 
have learned that the Dutch boys 
make the bravest soldiers. They 
don't do any bragging and they are 
ready for service no matter how 
djingerous. Is there any one work- 

ing your 80 this summer? I am 
thinking what a fine farm my 40 ai>d 
'Our xo would make together. 

If Myra Amidou ever asks you. 
whether or not 1 received that letter 
she and you w^rote in company, toll 
her I did of course and answered It 
and directed to you. If she wants 
an answer tell her to write on her 
own hook and I'll be glad to answer. 
Tell her I owe her a grudge for beat- 
ing me at that foot race through the 
cornfield to the house. My heavens 
how that girl can run. Myra has 
the nicest blue eyes I ever saw. 
How easy it is to write and write of 
friends and dear ones at home. 
You will be tired when you read all 
this, and I must quit. Kiss mother 
for me and save one for yourself. 
Youv brother, 

Snyder's Bluff, Miss.. .July 25. ]8«?.. 

Hd. Quarters 2oth Regt., Wis. Vol. 
Dear Mother: 

T feel just like writing you to-day. 
I am sitting in the shade of a big 
Cyiiress tree, on the banks of ],he 
Ya/.oo. Looking across the river f 
can see on some flood trash, two 
black things looking like alligators. 
They don't move and I am not sure. 
There is a pretty spring just below 
where T sit and a sign over it which 
says, "Don't drink this water, poi- 
Hon." It is as big as tlie spring at 
the head of our spring and as pure 
looking. It seems strange that we 
cannot drink out of the springs here 
that look just as they do in Wiscon- 
sin. Some of the boys don't mind 
the sign. Some that are burning un 
with fever and thirst manage to 
stagger down here and fill up with 
writer and .go back to their tents 
and die. Say mother, what would 
you think if T should say I have some 
times wished when the fever made 
me so hot T could hardly stand Jt 
that I could go to sleep and never 
wake up till the war was over. Now 
this may sound kind of weak for a 

but T am 116 ct)Xvard, mother. T 
'don't co^n*6 ttom that kind of stock 
*! reiVi^^^liber how you put the gun at 
♦h^ head^of your bed whei\ father 
\vas gone to Fount«iVi City, ready to 
use it if Ilidlft'MS anould come or 
wild aftimals attack ^\e cattle, .^nd 
TatliiSeP came home and he would pai 
o*a>J on the back and say "you are 
just the slrl for a pioneer's wife, f 
remember th^^se things mother, and 
under »U circumstances 1 shall nev- 
«^v foi'K^t that my father and mothef 
M<ii^ brave people. 

^ wrote brother "VVai-ifeil the day 
I efore getting your letter so I have 
delayed answering yours. I am a 
gr^l deal bttter from chills and n 
ssort of intermittent fever. T have 
\)<e'ett taking quinine wblch seems lo 
hAX^ broken the chills. I am thank- 
t^^^ it is not th-it other kind of fever 
*that is killing off tjie boys so fast. 
-2:! niett have lately died out of o\ir 
'regih\eut. There are only about 100 
ineii out of the regiment fit to do 

Thank goodness we are about done 
with this part of the south. The re- 
port now is that our entire Brigade 
will go 4>o \iomphis and on up tho 
Tennessee where a northern soldier 
can live. Two regiments of our bri- 
gade have already left, the '.',r(\ 
31inn. and the 40th Iowa. The 27tb 
"Wis. and our regiment will leave 
Roon and then hurrah for a healthier 
climate. The rebel Gen. .Johnson 
and his Butternut hand have skeda- 
dled to parts unknown. Of course 
you b-',ve bcird o*" the rctrent of 
Gens. and Bragg, and of the 
rinf of the mob in New York Gitv 
and the biiniing of negro asvlums 
and school bouses. Thf't mob up- 
rising looked 1 ad for the north. It 
was a Democratic crowd in sympa 
thy. with the south. Tost what blood, 
time and treasure it mny, the T'nion 
win yet win out. 

We were iiaid off the other day. 
and to my surjirise nothing was tak- 
en out for extra clothes drawn. 

Maybe they will takPi H odl laier. 
\V6 got full p'iy, $26, 

This makes twice we have drawn 
pay at this place. You ask what 
general it was tb;jt ordered that 
killing retrea'. for. r»>tr?>flt it v^as. 
from SalaftiH in Ikincs Bl'iff? (t 
wft9 tieherai Kemball. a Potomac 
General, wl o i« now actin;.: General 
for our coris. ^^■e .re not in love 
with him, and son.e of the 1 oys s;iy 
be will get shot hy hiw nxvn nii>tt th^ 
first fight wu fv'f i'hIU. ll is tSnie for 
rol' call aii'l as 1 '»m not excu,. ■ ' ! 
must quit r.iid go ! to camp. 

Love lo I'ntb.c-r "i;^ rc'». 
Your Son, 

( Snyders Bluff. :Miss., .luly 28, 1863, 
Hd.Quarters Wis. Regl. 
Dear Mother: 

Your last letter at hand. Ther(? is 
no medic'ne like a letter i'vom homtv 
Let me tell you niotht^r it does a fal- 
low a lot of good, 1 am glad you 
are having such success with the 
hees. Tt makes niy mouth water for 
biscuit and honey. I wish you wo'.ild 
not take so many chances of getting 
st''ng. YoH ought to wear a veil of 
cb<c!sc cloth over your face. Don't 
think so much of me. f am all right. 
We ba\e p i)!cMity to eat. By payinw 
a good riund pric»; we can get al- 
most an>t'iin.!v good to eat. 1 wi^h 
you would think more of yourself. 
When I see you in my sleep working 
in the hayfield helprng to get up the 
hay it troubles me. 1 suppose as 
vou say that help is hard to get and 
may be there is no other way. I am 
careful you may be sure what I eat. 
Our dainties we get of the sutler, 
-^nd it is nearly all In (lans. I eat a 
'oi of oystprs and 1 find them good 
•'nr me. Tliat deer that father killed 
'■■nist have come in good play. Don't 
■:noiI your relish for it by constantiv 
'biiikiua- of me. I told you T am all 
'•■ght. When 1 get a dish of oys'ers 
' always think how fond father is of 

You say they are going to get rich 

*in Bennet Vwlley where father 

bought that forty for Die. Well I am 
bappy to know that. It may be they 
will have use for a part of it when 
the next recruiting offlcer comes that 
way. Nor will he, likely as not. 
waste his eloquence in trying to 
coax them to enlist as .J. A. Brackett 
did when I enlisted. He will like as 
not tell them to furnish so many 
men or stand a draft." 

This war ain't over yet. There 
may be a lot of money paid out for 
substitutes yet. .lust think of it, 
they are payinK as high as a thou- 
sand dollars for substkutes in many 
of the Slates. It all means that peo- 
ple are getting tired of the fiissy 
way the war is being carried on. If 
the slaves had been declared free 
right at the start just as lather said 
and put into the ranks to fight the 
war might have ended long ago. I 
see by the papers there are fifty 
thousand freedmen under arm and 
they are doing good servicft. The 
poor black devils are fighting for 
their wives and children, yes and 
for their lives, while we white cusseii 
are fighting for as Capt. Darwin 
calls an idea, 1 tell the boys right to 
their face 1 am in the war for the 
freedom of the slave. When they 
talk about the saving of the Union 
I tell them that is Dutch to me. I 
am for helping the slaves if the Un- 
ion goes to smash. .Most of the boys 
have their laugh at me for helping 
the "Niggers" but Elder Harwood 
and Ed Colemon and .Julius Parr and 
.loel Harmon andChet Ide, the last 
t'wo of Mondovi. tell nie 1 aTu right 
in my argument. 

1 am sorry father lost tha: deer. 
He should take old Prince to help 
him next time. It Is too bad to 
wound a deer for the wolves to catch 
and eat up in that way. 

We have fresh beef all the time 
since the surrender. These canf^ 
brakes are full of half wild cattle, 
and they are fat as butter. 

1 thank brother W. for sending me 
those stamps. 1 will send him a 
book when 1 get to Memphis. Moth- 
er, I wish you would send me a small ! 

package of butter by Lieut. McKay, 
who is home on furlough for thirty 
days. I like John McKay. He is a 
good man. He is a good officer and 
fair to his men. His wife, I think, 
is in .Modena, where he enllBted, 
You will see a notice of his arrival 
In the .\lma -Journal. Eor the can 
of l)utter you send I want you to re- 
serve a ten dollar greenback for 
your own especial use out of the 
sum I send you. Good bye Dear 
.Mother. Your boy, 


Helena, Ark., August 8, 1863. 
2.^th Wis. Hd. Quarters. 
Dear Parents: 

The expected move came at last. 
.\fter four days of steaming and 
tugging and puffing and groaning, 
we find ourselves camped near 
Helena, Arkansas, on the banks of 
the old -Mississippi. Uor nearly four 
days the wheels of the brave old 
boat went round and round stem- 
ming the muddy water of the dear 
old river. \A'e were glad to know 
that every hour brought us nearer 
to good drinking watfer and pure air. 

All the 27th and 2Sth pf July the 
ambulances were busy picking up 
and carrying the sick to the hospi- 
tal boats. The bands on the boats 
kept up their playing so as to give 
the sifk fellows courage. The even- 
ing of the 2.'Nth our' regiment, reduc- 
ed to TOO men, marched on to an old 
vessel that had Veen used as a block- 
ade runner, and as you may suppose 
it was fall of holes bored through 
and through. Well we had not been 
on l)oard an hour before the rain and 
wind began to pour upon us from 
above and from all sides. It was a 
regular cloud burst. The fellows on 
tlie ujjper deck were soaked and flo 
were all of us below decks. The wa- 
ter iioured through every seam and 

We lay at the landing all night. 
We ,aot under way down stream 
early in the morning and about ten 
o'clock our old shaky craft turned 
its nose up the muddy current of the 


Father of Watere. Every fellow that 
could get a string lowered his coffee 
ran for a drink of water. The boys 
would smack their lipH and say the 
dirt In it tasted like Wisconsin dirt. 
Heachlng L a k e Providenf;e that 
evening it was decided to transfer 
three companieH to another boat, as 
our loat was overloaded and threat- 
ening to fiink. Companies B., (' 
and F. went ashore to follov/ on the 
next boat. We pushed on with d 
more comfortable feeling The next 
day I had a turn of fever ae did a 
hundred others, on account of sleep- 
ing in wet clotheB. I fixed that after 
a while with a dose of quinine ani 
brandy, put up for me by the stew- 
ard. Our vessel was old and rickety 
and made slow headway. 

The faithful old craft panted, toil- 
ed and groaned its onward wav 
toward the north star. We laid up 
alongside the shore two nights. And 
except to stop now and then for 
wood, there was no excitement. We 
alopped one night opposite a l;ig 
peaeh orchard. Got peaches and 
chickens enough to make us uearh- 
all sick and confiscated sixty muh^s. 
There are few towns alony on elt er 
Bide and the forests come right down 
to the Bhore and look as wild an.i 
dark as they did when the French 
Jesuits visited the river two hun- 
dred years ago. Helena is not so 
far up as we had hoped to so. Soon 
as the remainder of our regiment 
gets here we expect to be sent to 
Jdemphls, Tenn., a hundred mllen 
farther north. 

We are camped under soine hi:; 
trees close to the shore, and we like 
it much better than on the miserable 
^'a/.oo. \^'e can buy stuff here for 
less money than at NMcksburg. 1 
should judge there were 15,000 
troops at this place. They expect. 
Gen. Price to attack this place any 
day. He Is a foxy old war dog and 
may pop up any day. Let him comi', 
h^ won't catch our commander Gen. 
l^rentlsB asleep. They say Prentiss 
Always sleeps with one eye open. 

While I am writing William 

' Thomas of Mondovj. is sitting on a 

{ bench beside me. The poor fellow 

is dead home sick. He looks very 

bad. He watches the steam boats 

passing up the river and wishes he 

I,at get a pass to .i-'o home on nn» 

I <M them. 

-Mensiis Bump came round awhile 
ago and treated us all to n cup of 
milk punch, that is milk and whisky. 
.•\11 the sick boys got some. It pret- 
ty near laid me out as it did a lot of 
others. It is a cold morning for this 
country and 1 dropped my paper and 
went over by the fire, and the heat 
made me dizzy. iJan Hadley and 
Obe Hilliard said it was better than 
cpiinine and they just as leave lake 
some every day. 

^^'ell father, what do you think of 
the war anyway? It seems the rebs 
are trying to make an alliance wiMi 
France, and make Xapoleon Dicta- 
tor, or something. Anyway to get 
the French to help. The South ain't 
licked yet, and we may be in for x 
lot of trouble yet. We get the daily 
papers from Memphis, and so keep 
posted. Have you got a letter advis- 
ing you of the check 1 sent you of 
forty dollars? A load of Butternuts, 
rebel prisoners, is just passing on 
the steamer Hope, bound for the 
north. They will get into some pris- 
on, get full rations, get strong and 
be exchanged for our boys that have 
been starved and unfit for service. 

Father, I often think of the three 
hundred thousand Catalines, as yo.i 
called them, that brought on this 
war just because they could not run 
this government in the interest of 
shivery. It is only slave holders 
that fill the offices in the southern 
army. It is the poor white trash 
that even the darkies look down up- 
on that fill the ranks and take the 
bnmt of the fight. Poor devils, they 
don't know that they are fighting for 
a rich aristocracy that despises, 

I don't know n'^out your taking 
that Pierce darkev to work for you. 
Some of them are the worst liars 
and thieves in the world. Be care- 



tul. We soldiers have lots of deal- 
ings with them. They aeem nice 
eoough to me and honest, but it is 
elttlmed they are awfully dishonest. 
When they are faced with the facts 
of their lying they put on the most 
jiltiful look of innocence. 1 am try- 
ing to find exfuses for them when I 
remember what you told me aboiv 
them. 1 don't doubt but tiie whites 
would be liars and thieves too if 
they had been slaves for two hun- 
dred years. Whatever 1 think T 
won't side with the boys that are 
abusing them. This I do notice, the 
boys that 1 think the best and like 
the best say the least acainst the 

Heretifter direct to Cairo. Mail 
will be forwarded from there. 
Your son, 

Helena. Ark.. Hd. Quarters. 
25th Wis. AugUHt fith, 18(i3. 
Dear Father: 

1 wrote to you but three days ago, 
but I am glad for an excuse to write 
to you again. I got your last letter 
with the extract from the New York 
Tribune enclosed. 1 am not sur- 
prised that old CJreely, as the boys 
c.'ill him, would have something to 
say about the New York riot. lie 
feels terribly because of the late 
riots against thp negroes in New- 
York City. 

I showpid the extract to Dv.yer. an 
frlNlimau in our comi^any. a real 
good fellow, and one of my best 
friends. He said O'Connell himself 
could not m;tke the Irish like "Nig 
gers.'" He said, when O'Connell 
talked to the Irish in Ireland about 
Liberty, it was nil ripht. but it wa.? 
asking too mucli for OTonnell or 
anybody else to (Igni for the libertv 
of tho nigger. He did l)!ame the 
Irish though, for their i)iirt in burn- 
ing the Schools and asvlun.s of the 
blacks in New York Titv. The boy.-, 
had been talking this thing over a 
s-ood deal since the New York riot 
It must have hurt Wendell Phillip^: 

dreadfully after all the handsome 
ihings he has said about O'Connell 
and English oppression of the Irls'.i 
nation to see them so bitterly op- 
posed to the freedom of the slave. 

1 told Dwyer I didn't see how he 
01- any other Irishman could feel 
kindly toward the south, that hai 
never made them welcome nor had 
fliey treated any Toreign people a^ 
kindly as we had done in the north. 
Their pajiers were always sneering 
at the Dutch or Hessians, the Jews 
and the Irish. 

Dwyer said, the Irish dont hate 
the Nigger l)ecause he is black but 
because he won't fight. The Irish 
like a fighter. Dwyer has always 
cursed Lincoln because he was so 
slow to enlist the blacks in the 
army. 1 don't knmv but he was 
right. Lincoln seems to be a good 
man but he is slow. Things seem to 
be in a terrible jangle at \\'a8hlng- 
ton. There is so much jealousy 
among the officers and backbiting to 
Lincoln that the poor fellow don't 
know who to trust. The Vlcksburg 
papers up to the time of the surren- 
der, were ulways sneering at the 
Yankees and saying that if the 
South was l)eaten it would be owing 
to the foreign hirelings, that we 
wei-e l)ringing in by the ship load, to 
fill up our ranks. Most of their 
siiite is against the Germans, whom 
they call Hessian.s. 

Well, so much for the comments in 
the Tr'bune extract you sent me. I 
have little to say about our doing« 
here. Most of us are sick. We 
■dimply lay round and sleep and 
Ireani and gaze out on the big river 
that never stoos but flows on and 
on towiird the gulf, .lust below our 
;ami) is a big flat boat loaded with 
•ce. They came from tho Ohio. 
Tliey ask five cents for enough ice 
'o cool a drink of water. There is 
a lot of cows In the edge of town 
Tnd the boys milk them everv day 
Thomi)son Pratt and Obed lillliard 
brought me some milk the dav be- 
ore yesterday. I ! ought a pound of 


i(.e and cooled it and with liard tat-k 
tor iTread I liad a royal good ineal. 

Say. how are things at home 01' 
course you are having veniscn these 
days and plenty of trout. Oive old 
Frlnce a good htig I'or me. Dear 
old dog. I often think of the days 
and nights we hunted toget'ier. 1 
never feared anything the darkest 
night that ever bleAv when out in the 
hills with old Prince snugged up in 
the blanket beside me. He Las been 
the dearest friend of my boyhood 
and if anything happens to liim l)ury 
him on the big hill and 1 will nuirk 
his grave if I fome back. Tell moth 
er never mind sending the butter. 
It's too fearful hot. There is a ru- 
mor that a lot of our regiment will 
be sent to- the hospitals at Memphi-s 
soon. 1 liate to think that I may hi 
one of that number. 1 think I am 
feeling better since the weather got 
cooler. Love to all, 

Your son, 


Helena, Arkansas, August 14, 186.">. 
Pear Mother: 

Your favor with father's came 'o 
day. It seems a long time between 
letters, I read them over and over. 
They are the second 1 have had 
since we came to this miserable 
town. The sallow faced natives 
here call it Arkansaw. I don't blame 
them. Any kind of a name is good 
enough for such a dismally Hat sick- 
ly country. I have had a touch oi' 
chills twice the last week. Our 
Regiment has moved again nearer 
the river and nights when all is still 
I can hear the swash of the waves 
along the shore. There are a lot o;' 
boats passing day and night and all 
up the river boats are loaded with 
Grant's soldiers bound for the Ten- 
nessee and Potomac campaigns. If 
looks as if we are to hold this placi! 
for some time. Our duty being to 
stand provost guard on city patrols 
The most of the troops here a week 
ago have been ordered out to gan*i- 
son Little Rock. 

The war cloud that has been loom- 
ing up in Arkansaw has about van- 
ished. It looks as if the rebs can- 
not muster force enough to make a 

Tl.e darkies are bringing in lol:-; of and selling it to the .soldiers 
They buy it of their former masters 
and "tote" it down on their heads. 
1 am eating sparingly of green fruit. 

So father's contraband (negro) 
has left him so soon. Well, you re- 
member wluit I told y>)U aljout their 
tricks. Makin.g them free has rat- 
tled them. They think they have 
nothing to do now but play the ban- 
jo and dance .ju' a. Tlxey are a fun- 
ny race and no mlbtake. I like to 
hear them laugh. 

1 am sorry that the corn crop is 
likely to fail. Perhaps the frost has 
not spoiled it all. What in the world 
can you do with the pigs? If it 
wasn't for the wolves you could 
turn them on the hills to eat acorns. 

It gives me the blues that you are 
having such poor crops. And so 
Indian Charley and his band don't 
come back this summer as he used 
to with bear meat and venison. V\'ell 
athat means better hunting this fa'l 
for you. But what Jias become of 
poor Charley and his family? I am 
so afraid he was killed in Minneso- 
ta last summer or he killed some- 
body himself, some white man, and 
has gone west with the rest of the 
Sioux. You know Mother, I can 
never forget Charley. He was al- 
ways good to us when during the 
first years no whites lived near us 
.and his band might have scalped us 
••■ll and nobody would have known it 
for months after. 

So Mr. Cripps got his rifle back 
from Indian Curley. That proves 
to my mind that Curley never was 
in the .Minnesota massacre. If he 
had i)een be would never have 
showed lU). it jiroves another thing. 
It proves tliat ludiuns are honest 
when they are dealing with honest 
Meoiile. It would have been a wick- 
ed thing if Cripps had shot Curley 


on K'.ispicion that he had used his ri- 
de shooting whites in Minnesota. It 
was to save his own life tliat he 
stayed away this lonp. He Itnew 
the whites were wjld over the Sioux 
war and ready to shoot any red man 
on night. I see by the paper yo'.i 
sent me, that every Sioux has been 
driven from ]Minnesota their homo 
for generations. What's tlie mat- 
ter with the white race? Why could- 

and glad that he was sent with me 
to the same hospital. Bill is a big, 
rough fellow but he was nice to us 
younger boys. He often came round 
and brought me tilings to eat an,I 
drink when he w-as sicit himseli'. 
He is looking very bad just now but 
he says it's a "damned lie, I'm all 
right." Ciood hearted BUI. 

Well, we got here In the night 
and in a heavy rain and in the mud. 

nt they live with the Indians around j They had a time with their fat pine 
them as we have done all these .torches, getting us straightened 

years in peace and friendship? 

Vou see mother 1 have nothing 
II round here to write about of inter- 
est. 1 like better to talk a'iout home 

Poor William Thomas of .Mondovi 
is very low and they say he cannot 
live, ^\^^at seems strange, the doc- 
tor says it is homesickness that is 
killing him. . Dan Hadley and Obe 
Hilliard have just dropped in with a 
melon just to tease me. They know 
1 can't eat such stuff. D.nn says to 
remember him to the Tiilmanton 

Oood bye mother hi\(\ father. 

Tour son, 

P. S. — I had sealed this letter, and 
have opened it to say that our Or- 
derly has just notified me that T am 
on the list to go to Memphis day 
after to-morrow, to the General hos- 
pital. I hate to think of it. but no 
doubt it will be the best place to re- 
cruit. Will write when I start. — C. 

Qayoso General Hospital. 
Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 21. ixil.'] 
Dear Parents : 

I had hoped never to write you as 
the inmate of a hos!)ital but I could 
n't helu it. Day before yesterday fW) 
from Helena, that is Helena, Arka« 
sas. were landed here In Memphi? 
from the hospital steamer, Oood 
Hope. There were more than a 
hundred and forty from my regi- 
ment. A lot from my company be- 
side myself. 1 was glad Bill .\nder 

son of Durand was In our crowd. J for his mother, and between hU 

round and separated into five bunch 
es and sent to as many hospitals. 

I carried my gun and belts from 
the lan.'iing. but a ')ig negro grabl ed 
my kuai)sMck and four or five other.^ 
and lugged them to the hospital. 

The ffayso Hospital is a big build- 
ing on second street, looking out u|i 
on the river, 1 am all alone in my 
ward which is 7. That is there are 
no other soldiers in it that 1 know. 
There are 28 sick and wounded in 
the ward beside.s myself. I will fin- 
ish this letter in the morning. 

August 22nd. I had a nice bed, 
but somehow the ga.s lights or souie 
thing kept me awake. My nurse, i 
great V)ig woman with a kind face, 
brought me a clean pair of drawers 
and shirt and told me to take off 
■everything and |)ut them on, and sat 
lown on the bed l^eside me as if she 
expected me to striii right before 
her. 1 didn't know what to do 
Presently she got up and said, have 
vour clothes tied up, I'll be hack in 
ten minutes and carr.v them out to 
^he wash room.'' When she went 
out I skiivned off every thing quicv 
ns I could and got into the clean 
hirt and drawers and into bed 
ihout a minute before she got '^ack. 
She didn't say a word but wrote out 
a check with my number, put it into 
my stand drawer, and pinned a du 
tlicate on my clothes and carried 
them awav. 

August 2:lrd. I slept until about 
three this morning. A poor fellow 
about that time commenced calling 


moanings there was little quiet in coming and going up and down river, 
the ward. The nurse after awhile Had nothing on but my shirt and 
would come again. $he would ar- drawers. Nurse came and walked 
rauKe and smooth back" his hair ar.d with me to my bed. When the doc- 
KO back to her room. His was only I tor came he said, wasn't you on the 
six beds from mine and his moan- i imlcony today? I said yea. Then 
ings kept me awake. j he said I will put you on the list to 

His moanings and cries for moth- go . to the Convalescent Fort tomor- 
er came fainter and fainter and row. Vou are strong enough to live 
when tlie nurse came at daylight he in ^ tent. 

was dead. They wrai)ped him in a 
sheet and carried him away and a 
little later another man was put on 
his bed. \ 

I dont like my Doctor although hei 
is a Wisconsin man. He don't asic 
many questions and he smiles at my 
answers as if he thought I was try- 
ing to fool him. 

When I told him the cough I hml 
for a week past began to hurt me in 
my left breast, he looked at me for 
a moment while he twisted his mus- 
tache, then he said, "you oup,ht to 
have your lung scraped." His an 
swer made me feel that I had said 
something that t ought not to say.; 
That unless I was in the deepest 
l)ain 1 ought to keep still. In truth 
1 was not in very sreat pain except! 
when 1 coughed. And my coughing 
was recent. \ 

Don'r let this trouble you for ai 
moment Father and Mother, I shall 
be all right again very soon. 

Your oldest boy. 


Gayoso Hosjiital Ward ISfi:^, 
Memphis, Tenn. 

The following notes are taken by 
our "Soldier Boy" from his diary 
kept while in the .Memi)his hospitals, 
things of his condition he would not 
write his parents, things that would 
worry father and mother, when he 
knew they could not help him. 

August 27. Am ailing from a 
fierce attack of diarrhoea. Have used 
the stool many times today. There 
i« no toilet room in this building. 
Women nurses moving about all the 
time makes a fellow feel strange. 
Sat for a time this afternoon on the 
gallery faping the river. Boats were 

August 28. An Illinois boy thtu 
was wounded, died in the ward last 
night. His father an,'! mother sat by 
him all night. The nurse brot me 
my breakfast and putting it on the 
stand asked me how I felt. Told her 
I didn't know only 1 had a pain in 
my left breast, when f coughed. She 
said 'the doctor has listed your name 
for the Fort below the city, I hope he 
has made no mistake in your case. I 
will get your clothes. You leave 
your shirt and drawers, the ones 1 
gave you, on the cot." I don't quite 
like this going to the Fort, I don't 
feel strong. It is four o'clo<-k. Word 
has just come there will be no re- 
movals to the fort tonight. 

August 2'9th. The nurse came 
round early this morning and leaving 
some coffee and ])read on the stand 
told us to be ready in an hour to go 
to the fort. T had been up a lot dur- 
ing the night and felt weak. T ate a 
l)art of my breakfast. .lust before 
starting the nurse gave me a glass of 
egg nog. When I went down stairs 
1 found the street full of half sick 
soldiers. After marching a. few 
l)locks T told one of the guards 1 
would have to rest. We stopped 
three times before reaching the fort. 
The guard carried my knai'Sark the 
rest of the way. 

The fort is an enclosure of some 20 
acres filled with a lot of dirty wall 
tents, enclosed by a stokade on three 
sides, and on the river side a steep 
clay bank a hundred feet high. Here 
I am in a tent with a dozen other 
half sick fellows. layln,^- on the 
ground with a bit of straw and a 
single blanket under us. I don't 
like that Wisconsin Doctor that sent 


me here. Jle has made a mistake 
aud I am sure of it. 

AtiguBt 30. Have Just had din- 
ner, a dish of soiip and crackers, 
sent UH from the mess room. I ate 
Home but Mjas not hungry. Have 
been thinking about home a great 
deal today. This Is a fearful place 
for man or boy sick or well. Hun- 
dreds yes, thousands crawling about, 
like myself trying to help them- 
selves. When the fort doctor ex- 
amined me this morning he said he 
would see me again tonight. He 
talkol very kind and I like him bet- 
than the hospital doctor. 1 made a 
trip for water to the spi'lng at the 
foot of the bluff and 1 thought I 
would never get back. The spring 
is close by the river. 

August 31. The doctor came last 
night and put my name down to be 
sent to the Adams Oeneral Hospital 
in the city today. T am glad and 
yet I fear it means something seri- 
ous. He said in answer to my ques- 
tion, "your lungs are ailing." 

I had a bad night, along with five 
others who were as sick as myself. 
1 went down the i)luff last night to 
fill my canteen with water. 

First 1 called for water. There 
was no answer. T knew what that 
meant. They were sick themselves 
or h-^'l none to spare. 1 crawled 
over the sleeping forms of four 
comi)anions and picked my way 
down the steep clay hank to the 
spring by the river side. 1 filled 
by canteen and drank my fill and 
sat down with the others who came 
and went. 

.After a long time I got back to the 
top of the bank and went to bed. 
Some of the boys complained that 
my coughing kept them awake. 1 
said all ri.cht you will be rid of me 

f, P. M. .Vlams Hosiutal. I lind 
nearly lost all heart at the Fort this 
afteiuoon when an ambulance drov« 
up to the tent and called for me. 

Here T am ut last on a clean white 
l>ed in a cheerful room and the face 

of our nurse they call Aunt Lizzie, 
is so kind I feel quite content tho 
my cough Is getting more painful. 

Adam's General Hospital, 
Memphis, Tenn. Oct. 2, 186a. 

f am writing this, this morning 
propped uj) on my knapsack for u 
pillow. It looks as if I was in for a 
siege of it. The doctor is feeding me 
on Cod Liver oil and whiskey. He 
says I have pneumonia and pne of 
my lungs is affected. Aunt Lizzie, 
our nurse, an Illinois woman, as kind 
as a mother came to take away the 
dishes on my stand. She scolded me 
a little because 1 did not eat any of 
my breakfast. She put ray knap- 
sack under my head and gave me a 
book to write on. When the doctor, 
came this morning, 1 told him what 
the Guyoso doctor said about my 
lungs, that they ought to be taken 
out and scraped. He said that 
doctor was a brute to say sic;i 

October ;>rd. 

I am writing this, this afternooa 
I did not sleep much last night, and 
have been dozing all forenoon. The 
nurse handed me a letter from home 
forwarded from the regiment. Motli 
er wants to know if 1 am very sick 
and she says father will come down 
If I am. They can't helji me an 1 
what'.i the use telling them the 
truth. It will be an awful worry to 
mother and cost a lot of money. 
There is a big noise in the streets 
and all the boys that are strong are 
up looking out the windows. There 
is a lot of cavalry and several bat 
teries passing. 1 can hear the clank- 
of their sabers and feel the jar of 
the he^uy guns on the stony streets. 
My cough i!x getting so bad 1 can't 
write, and my lung hurts me. 

October 3th. 

Cousin Ben Gurdner of the 2nd 
Illinois cavalry called at the hospi- 
tal to-day. Hi* regiment is doing 
guard duty 2G miles south of Mem- 


phis. He said it gave him the Jilues 
to find me in such shape. He had 
hoped we foiled walk around to- 
j^ether. He is a «ergeaiit in his 
company and a strong and husky fel* 
low. He said we would have a good 
time when the war was over and all 
of us got home. I tried, to look 
brave in spite of my i)ain and tho 
he was laughing when he bid me 
goodbye, I saw a tea.r in his eyes, 
oan't write :.ny more so I can read 

October 6th. 

.\11 night the lights were burning 
in the ward, and I had but little 
sleep. It was nine in the morning 
when Aimt Lizzie roused me from 
my cot. They talked a while and 
went away. I asked Aunt Lizzie 
what they wanted, and she said they 
were holding counsel. The weather 
is very warm. 

(During the three weeks foUowin 
our soldier boy made no further en 
tries in his notebook. He was 
sick, quite sick, with pneumonia. 
The grim destroyer had been beaten 
off and at the end of five weeks he 
was able to walk about the ward. 
Two letters from home had reached 
him in the meantime, and they were 
read to him by Aunt Lizzie, the 
ward nurse. The last one she an- 
swered for him, telling his father to 
come and take his boy home. One 
quiet Sunday morning a week later 
as the boy lay propped up on his 
cot, he had just finisbe't his breakj- 
fast of toast and boiled onions, when 
his attention was taken by a s^low, 
measured step coming up the stair- 
way at the farther end of the ward. 
Every inmate of that ward knew 
from experiifice that the step was 
that of a stranger. 

Nearly every day some father had 
come up that stairway in quest of a 
sick boy or wounded. This time it 
was the father of our soldier boy 
Slowly he walked down the center 
of the ward his hands clasped be- 
hind him searching each wan • face 

on the right and on the left as he 
l)a6sed while the i)oy whom he 
sought at the end of the ward was 
frantically waving his hand at him. 

There are some things graven on 
niemory which if traced in brass 
are never erased. The boy of a half 
century ago, an old man to-day, re- 
calls father's presence, his attitude, 
liis look of inquiry, as vividly as tho 
it were but yesterday. And to think 
of it: it lacks but a twelve months 
of a half century. 

Tt is worthy of note that Aunt 
Lizzie, who was so good to him and 
who became superintendent of the 
Adams Hospital, was granted a 
special i)ens'on of $50 a month. Two 
vears ago the Chicago Record Her- 
ald made mention of her death and 
commented on her noble services :n 
hospital work during the civil war. 
In these later years it has been sad 
reflection to the Soldier Boy that he 
never knew the address of dear 
Aunt Lizzie, that he might write to 
her ar/I thank her for her mother's 
inty and her mother's care. 

The, next letter will date from Al- 
abama March 18C^. 


In our closing letter week before 
last, we stated that our next would 
date from Alabama. We have since 
found one written during our almost 
two weeks journey en route to Ala- 
bama, which we give below, besides 
another written from the r.a.voso 
Hos)iital, Memphis. This one over- 
looked from the Hospital, mentions 
that Henry Morse, of Gilmanton one 
of my chums and a boy near my age 
came ui) from Helena a few davs 
later than my arrival and went into 
another hospital. He was so much 
lietter in a few days that he was as 
signed to duty in the dming room 
and also acted as nurse. Dan Hadlev 
came with Henry and was assigned 


to my hospital, but to 

a different 

Nashville, Tenn., April Tth, 1S64. 

Dfettt" SlhtM*'; 

T believe my last was written 
father from Cairo lllino's. The same 
day our squad c;ot transportation to 
r.ouisvllle KentMfky by way of Cen 
tral lUiuolM which tneanw taking our 
buck tmck n hnniired and fifty miles 
f.ook Oh the liifiji aiid yini ean see 
better than F can tell you. \Ve got 
into F.ouisville Monday mornins. 

They call Louisville the biggest 
city In Kentucky atid the nicest. 

It looks jiretty. Jtil I'lght to a coun- 
try bijy.. I'hev have lots of iron 
works anil ttl&V iiiake' K-entucky 
whiskey here in plenty. JsOiiie of th^ 
boys tried the whiskey and said it 
wfts better than yankee whiskey. 

Soon an we arrived we were order- 
ed into quarters and stayed tmtil 
MPv^n iti the inornhig when we took 
tlie tt'alfl for Nashville, Tenn. * 

There were seven coadlew alt load- 
fed Witli returning soldiers, going to 
I'ejolh tliell' fegiinwnts. In Nash- 
Viile the entire gquad soniG Hno were 
sent to barracks in the Zollicoffer 
billlditife bnilt by the rebel General 
Zollicoffer. The rebs had to quit the 
city before it was finished. It's the 
biggest structure in Nashville. We 
have been here two days. I went 
up to see the state capitol and spent 
n few hours reading the picture of 
the famous men of the State. Their 
life sized pictures hang all around 
the walls. Sam Houston was the 
onlv one and Davy Crocket that 1 
knew much about. Then I knew 
more from what T have heard father 
sav of them than from books. 

The rapitol stands on a knoll in 
the center of the town, much like 
.Madison. The building is not so 
large nor so pretty. 

T am feling better every day. I 
have nothing like a chill since I left 
Chicago. Aunt Lydia gave me some- 
thing that seems to knock them. 
Last night the buys sang a lot of 

darkey Hongs more than a hundred 
voices joining in. and T tell you it 
made the building tremble. 

This is a nice country along the 
road much like Buffalo county, or 
would be if Buffalo county had peach 
rees Oil the foad side. You can pick 
he blossoms frofil the windows of 
'he cars. The farms look neglected. 
The darkies are free and the whites 
vvon't or can't work Ifs funny how 
the darkies show their liking for the 
soldiers of Lincoln. When thoy- meet 
in the inftln Streets they hardly no- 
tice us. but round the corner or on 
a back street they take off their half* 
and say, "God bress de Linkum. sol- 
diers." The poor creatures can't 
^'eel very free so long as they ar'^' 
afraid to «peak to us on the main 

I don't fex«ctly like the 
but I i)ity thefti iilid what father .-/lid 
to me when he herd my hai^d a« I 
got into the wagon at Rr! Fullers 
I can never forget. You kuov' tliat 
father thot that .John Brown and Gar- 
rison and Wendell Philips did n.or'- 
to free the slaves than all the ini! 
pits in the land. I won't go back on 
the black man for father's sake. 

Say sister, you are a bit mist<ti--en 
1 have no corresi)ondent save yen 
and mother and father. No, I have 
not written Myra, nor has she writtm 
me. You may say to her if you care 
to. what T told you about the las^ 
spelling match. T say yet that I 
would sooner she would spell mi 
down than any one else. It tickled 
me to see her so fidgety and so e\- 
eited that she won the pr'r.e. [ 
think the teacher rather helped h-r 
to spell the word just the sime. B i' 
I don't care. 

Mv onlv bother now is s)me soro 
toes". Mv big toe nail is .urowing in 
to mv big toe so 1 limp when 1 
Plague on it I must try and cut them 


More next time when T get to the 
regiment. Direct Via Cairo Illinois 
Your brother. 



Stevenson. Ala., April nth, ISf.l. 
Dear Parents: 

Left Nashville Thursday last 
for Unntsville. where we expert to 
find the regiments of as many 
states. We were piled in box cars 
on sacked oats and corn. When night 
ramp we itulled the doors siuit and 
rolled u|) our l)lan".\.ets. We realized, 
we were in the enemy's country. 
Wt' had heard that trains had beeti 
wrecked and bridges burned and it 
was talked in Nashville tliat there 
w:is a KanR of bushwhackers about a 
hundred miles out on our road in the 
irouutains that were derailing trains. 

The worn and slivered rails jolted 
us fearfully. It must have been 
near twelve o'clock when the whole 
trnin went off the track and every 
car between the car I vvas in and the 
euiiiMie. inoludlnp the enf;ine. turned 
ever down the bank. A number of 
the soldiers were smothered under 
the g-raiu sacks and a good many 
hrid arm and broken. It vvas 
t'piind that one of the rails had been 
1' I'lf'd up, A man from a farm near 
1 V t.->M us in the morning that lie 
b'-nrd potinding on the track but 
sT'fsed it was the section men at 
w.ork. Tt took until next afternoon 
frt fix the track and another train 
(■■\vio for us. I was not hurt iior was 
rnv one in out* car. Th« t^ugineer 
S"-id we Were running 2'> miles an 
h'^'ir. We arrived at Stevenson. 
A'alama the next morning. Mur- 
P'- s' o'irough and Bowling Green are 
(11 1 1-0 line of this road. We passed 
f'p'u at night. So much of this 
(•"•-niry reminds me of Wisconsin. 
T'l" hillR are cultivated more than 
w'th us. and they are badly washed. 
T''p roads are lined with ))«ach troe.«i j 
r'll in bloom. I 

Thore are several other bovg | 
Ml fhe crowd on their way to ioin the* 
rp*!lment. We were ordered into' 
nuarter.s .soon as we got here, to wait ' 
HO we were fold, for a train ' 

Sunday the 10th. 

Soon as we finished dinner we 
boarded the train for Huntsvillo. 
Arrived just at sunset. Here we 
found our regiment was in camp 25 
miles further at Moresville. Wo 
stayed- in Huntsville two days. 

Say. Injt this is a pretty town. Only 
•ike all towns in the South, there i« 
no life nor business. The negroes 
wear a hajjpy look l)ut the whites* 
look sullen and don't like to talk. 
Many of the business houses are 
'"oarded up an If they had gone out 
of business. The big court houses 
uid .^rounds in the center of the 
.own are fine. A regiment of .Jersey 
Zouaves are cpmped under the big 
trees in the court house f quare. Thf* 
boys claim they are hav'ng a fine 
time. Light duty, i)lenty to eat and 
the finest water in the south. The 
biggest si)ring in all the south flows 
from a cliff nearly a hundred feet 
high, within a block of the court 
houso. There is nearly a-^ nuich 
water as runs in Beef river. 

Tuesday, the 12th. 

On our way to the depot, this 
noon to take the train for MofesvUle 
we sOAv a horrible s:ght. A batter.x 
of five guns was returning ftotn drilt 
acro.'-s the railroad track when tht? 
shells of one of the cassions explod- 
ed blowing six men almost to atoms. 
One of them was thrown into the 
•lir above the tree tops and falling 
thru limbs his entrails were strung 
from the liml)s to the ground. The 
gun carriages were shattered to 
pieces and the horses killed. T want 
to tell you it /was a hard sight to 

T found the boys at Mor.seville i«ft<l 
"•as glad to be with them again. 

I was surprised to find Dan Hadley 
and Henry 3!orse had got back 
:ihead of me. Tell their folks, if you 
see them, tluit they are hale and 

Henry says he never felt so strong. 

J.9VP to (ill. 



flead Qnarters 25th Wis.. Vol cam; . 
Near MoresMille, Alabama. 

Deaf ftiOther: It haK been a week, 
res and more, since my last letter to 
you. 1 had hoped to hear from you 
and yet I am not surprised that no 
letter from home has reached ni' 
yet. The mails so far south are very 
Irregular. The i»o.-^tot!ice people aro 
watching the movements of the re^- 
Pis and won't .send out mail over 
these sOiUherll ro;>d» linleas they are 

I am idle most of the time and ! 
thought it a good time to write my 
mother even if I don't have much to 
write. Moresville is a sorry, sleepy 
little place at the foot of some big 
hills or moun'ains, on the i auk of ;, 
Clear. prt«tty stream .'-omothing big- 
ger then Kik (Vet-k at Oilmanton. 
Our duty here is light. The hoys 
call It i^oft Snap. That is the name 
ef the cartil). It h&f* bfen soft enough 
for me. The Orderly has iieeil kind 
to me. Me has not luit me on guard 
01* any t»thef duty sihcfe my return. 
We Bays 1 hiuSt get Stt*oilg before 
the big march liegius to CMiatanooga, 
where Gen. Sherman is collectin;:; 
a big array to march into Georgia. 
prck Harvey says. "Take it easy 
boys while you can. for soon we will 
get i)lenty of fighthig." T am messing 
with Diin Hadley and Obcl Hillard. 
The '1'oys are real good to me and ' 
am glad to be back with them. T am 
able to take my regular rations of 
liard tack iind sow belly ani feel all 

.\pril 20th. Our regiment has not 
yet returned from Decatur, a few 
miles south of the Tennessee rive" 
for which |)lace they left here Sa 
turday evening. rjeiiorts sny that 
they bad a shari) light with the rebs 
and several of the boys in Co, K 
were wounded. We had been hear 
ing cannons all the forenoon. 

r had taken my place in the ranks 
and expected to march with the boys 
but the <raiitaln ordered me back to 
•camp., saying that T was not fit to - 

go. I hated to go back because I 
knew some of the boy.s would say 1 
was "solfiiering." "Solfliering/' 

means playing off. There were l^ 
others of our Co. left be.side me and 
;ibout lii«> «ame number in oach of 
he ten coftli)anie.>. We were busy 
on police and guard duty till the reg- 
'ment got back. I am writing this 
.sitting under a big sycamore tree 
close to the river. The woods are 
n full leaf and the mocking bird.^ 
are singing all round me. It seeniK 
Strang© that human being.^ should b« 
rying to kill «acli other when ail 
the world around iti At peace. 

Ain-il 23. For two d&VM .Ind niRhtsi 
1 have been on guard without relief. 
I don't mind it and the boys Hnv T 
am getting fat. The boys are stil< 
at Decatur. Some of the band boyr- 
came uj) from Decatur and report 
that the rebs are whaling away witii 
heir 12 pounder bit don't come in 
reach of mu.sket r.mge. They have 
n wire stretched fi'om here to I>e 
catur so we keep in touch wiiU tb;" 
reg'ment. I don't believe fher« ;>? 
much rebel force behind these fe' .^1 
cannon. They are just trying to 
hold us here for purpose, w^ 
■lon't understand. 

April 2ord. I have .iust fome from 
town, 8b rods, with som(> mi'k an I 
meal and a mess of doughnut.'^. .Vn 
in^ommon bill of fnre in this sout'a 

The aristocracy here are gettiuT 
a-etly humble and are glfld to ex- 
'^bange milk and corn meal for tin.i-l 
tack, pork and coffee. It hn* be" '^ 
r-n awful come down for .Manor i n * 
^I'stus. As Elder Harwood n'; ■ 
Cha!)lin said, they would sow tb^- 
wind and now they are reaMng lb 
whirlwind. The Freedmon fare jk.=s 
as well as the master and'. s.^. 
The big white mansion on the plan- 
tations of the south has no more in 
it to eat or wear than the Freed- 
man's cabin. Where 1 .sot my m \< 
and meal to-day. I rang sevoitil 
tieforft th^ tloor was openod. .\ pale 


laie'l white girl opened the door and 
wlicn T told her I had l>ecii ringing 
fcr some time she apologi/.ed liy 
spying she supposed it was some of 
"Aunties" nigger friends enme to call 
on hor. "You know" she said we 
li!i\(« no future control ovir our ser- 
\;inta. ."Aunt.iiV as it seems wa'^ 
awny somewhere, calling without 
feai- of mistress. We are glad to 
; !•( their "f'oegods" as the boys call 

I heir doughnuts, in exchange for 
<nv telly and hard tack. These 

whites are afraid of the "Yankees" 
"^ |iu>y call us soldiers. The hoys 
:;re always singing John Brown'"- 
' ndy. and they seem to think all we 
(are for is to free the slaves. And 
'o icll tlie truth, that is r.hout all T 

ic lor. 1? ;t the TTnion. the Union 
■' c !nion, as father says, lu^lf slave 
; '1 ' lialf free. 

!. don't helieve in hating anyl)ody 
' I't tiie way these old slave holders 
ti'c if US. they snul) us every time we 

II <^( t them. 1 don't lilce them, not a 

An important message has come 
■Mill we are ordered in line by the 
\ M iiant. Love to all. 
Your Son, 


lid. Quarters. 2i>, Wis., Vol. 
,: - ''Apnl 25th. 1S64. 
(lam)) near Decatjjre, Ala 
l^^ar Father and Alother: 

I can write you '.just as I can 
snatch a moment here and there 
\Ve don't have much drill, nor 
much active duty at the front, ))ut 
there is some police duty or other 
'"ing on all the while. When noth- 
insr else is in sight we are ordered to 
clean our guns and see that our am- 
munition is in order. I have just 
'een dusting my clothes and polish- 
inp the buckle on my hat and the 
1 rass letters on my cartridge l)oxes. 

A fipht seems to be in the air as 
the rebs are not far from here and 
their artillery keeps i)egging aw^ay. 
AVlsh they would come in musket 
range but they won't. 

We came into Decatur last night 
It was our first march since 1 re- 
joined the regiment. The hoys are 
all busy fixing up tents and arrang- 
ing things in spite of the fact we are 
under marching orders to be ready 
to leave Chatanooga any liour. 

.\t nine o'clock we were ordered to 
stack arms and be ready to exchange 
our old Enfield guns n)ade in I5ng- 
land for new Springfield gnus made 
in America. 

April 213th. 1 don't like this town 
as well as Moresville. It is pretty 
enough too, but tli» whites are all 
sc:ared away and we have no one to 
trade hard tack and sow belly with. 
At Moresville we got corn pones and 
sweet potatoes for ))ickled pork and 
liard bread. It's getting warm. The 
sun burns good and hot. I shall 
have to cut th« tail off my drets 
coat and make a jacket of it or draw 
a blouse. We would like might.v 
well to get sight of the paymaster 
and our credit is getting i)oor with 
the sutler. 

I don't remember if I told you 
that Henry Morse is back again 
with the company. He is getting 
stout again and rough as ever. It's 
strange Henry don't write to his 
folks. If you see Elder .Morse give 
him my regards, and tell him Henry 
is all right. Eck Harvey has never 
been the same since Bill Anderson 
died. They were the two tallest 
men in the company and always 
headed the company column. The 
fact is. I can see a great change in 
many of the boys since last fall. 
They- are not so wild as they wer& 
and T believe they are better. As 1 
write one of the sergeants came 
round warning us to be ready any 
moment to fall in as the enemy is 
t'^etting louder, and to be ready any 
moment foi- action, .lust the sam« 
the boys go on writing letters and 
playing cards as the case happens, 
paying no attention to the fattle of 
the rebels cannon on our riglit. The 
darkies are coming" into oar camp in 


droves. They tell all sorts of stories 
about the reljels, but they are so 
Jmioraut aad scared I don't think 
their stories are minded much. The 
women, and some of them are nearly 
white, are all looking for washing 
jol)s. They borrow big coffee kettles 
of the boys and build fires down by 
the creek and do their washings. 
Lots of the boys hang round and 
tease them. They will do anything 
on earth for a Linkun soldier, as 
they call us, and still the boys treat 
ihera mean. 

An orderly just galloped up to the 
Colonels tent with a message. It 
n)ay ho an order to march, 
l.ove to all, 


Decatur, Alabama, May *1,1864. 
Co. G., 2.5th Wis. 
Dear parents: — The march toward 
Chatanooga began this morning. The 
order came last night after an. all 
day's rain, to strike tents this morn- 
ing and 1)6 ready at sun rise to 
march. This means our entire bri- 
RjKle. The enemy's guns that had 
lioen pounding away at us for nearly 
a week, were silenced by our bat- 
teries two days ago and since then 
there has' been no excitement till the 
marching order came last night. 
Rations for three days were given 
each man which about filled our 
haversacks. Then at roll call we 
were told what was expected of us. 
That we were to join a large army 
that Sherman was collecting at Chat- 
anooga and that we \vere to begin a 
hundred and fifty mile march toward 
Chatanooga the next day. The boys 
( lieered and said they were glad to 
go anywhere for a change. We cross- 
ed the Tennessee river on pontoons 
and marched toward Moresville, our 
old camp. The mud was from three 
to six inche.s deep and fearful sticky. 
Marched about 12 miles and came in- 
to cam]) just" as the" sun went below 
the mounfnins. Our camp is on the 
grassy bank of a pretty river I 

don't know it's name. It has been 
hot and muggy and the hard work of 
Dlodding thru the mud has tuckered 
mo a little. I have just come from 
the river wher I had a good wash. 
TjOts of the boys threw away blank- 
ets a.nd winter underwear. Dan 
Hadley, who is cook for our mess of 
four, has ^called to supper so I 
must quit for to-night. 

May 2nd: — The reville roused us 
tills morning before sunrise and a 
crowd of negroes that had come in- 
to camp to look at the Yankee sol- 
diers, began singing some plantation 
songs for the boys. They have a 
banjo and I tell you they can play it 
and dance too. I have washed in 
the river this morning and while 
Dan and Obe build the fire, fry the 
hard tack and sow belly and boil the 
coffee I am writing a line or two on 
this heavy sheet torn from a mer- 
chants ledger in Decatur. It's hard 
to get paper to write .on. On the 
other Slide you will see a list of things 
sold by the merchant to Bill Park- 
er's nigger George iback in 18.58. 
•'Nigger George" was a slave. 

7 o'clock p. m. We made several 

halls to-day to rest but the ground 

was so wet we couldn't lay down 

without our rubl)ers under us. V 

regiment of cavalry passed us as we 

halted this forenoon and all seemed 

to be so jolly I wished for a while I^ 

was ig the cavalry so I wouldn't* 

blister my feet marching. ,Came into 

Huntsville Alabama just at sunset, 

I having marched 18 miles. A lot of 

I the boys are crippling around with 

j sore feet. I am washing mine three 

times a day in cold water which 

helps them. There is a lot of troop.^ 

I gathered here all destined for Chat- 

, anooga. Camp fires are blazing 

'■ everywhere. Fences, boxes. old 

j buildings and every movable thing is 

picked up and jnilled down to make 

; fires. It looks tough to burn up nice 

\ jiicket fences, but the boys must 

have fires to cook by. 

' Mav li'd: -Wo are waiting for 


some cause, I suppose for orders. 
As T have a chance to mail this let- 
ter this morning 1 will tear my big 
sheet of paper in two and send what 
I have written and call it a letter. 
The orderly is distributing some let- 
ters which arrived this morning. I 
hope 1 have one but 1 ,can"t wait to 
tell you and send this out so goodl)y'^ 
father and mother. 

Hd. Quarters, SSth Wis. Vol., 
Huntsville, Alabama, May ?.rd, 1801. 
Dear Mother: — 
1 think I sent you my last from 
this place. I am taking this from 
some scrawls in my note boolt. I got 
a letter from home this morning 
while waiting for orders to march. 
Am truly glad to hear that you are 
out of del)t at last. It used to 
trouble me when 1 went in the field 
to hoe corn to think that you was in 
del>t. Tt made my hoe feel heavy. 
We are on the march again thru pine 
forests and over mountains enroute 
for Chattanooga. Troops are coming 
in and swelling our force from all 
directions. We are passed every 
little while by cavalry on good feel- 
ing, horses, prancing along, and l)y 
four and ^ix gun batteries, eight l)ig 
horses to each gun, the cannoneers 
laughing and talking as they pound 
along in the cassions. The cannon 
eers have a snap on the road and to- 
day as I limped along with a blister- 
ed foot, I wished I could trade places 
with one of them. But I would 
rather be in the ranks when the tug 
of war begins. When it comes long 
range shooting the boys that man the 
big guns catch it first. T guess T am 
satisfied where 1 am. There is talk 
that the .Johnnies are bound to give 
us a fight at Chattanooga. We have 
had a long tedious march to-day over 
mountains and thru valleys that were 
pretty and green and wading creeks 
over shoe top that didn't really help 
our sore feet. The streams here are 
clear and cool and come from 

springs. No danger of fever from 
drinking Alabama spring water. 

Marched 23 miles to-day. My 
feet are not so sore as yesterday. 
Many of the boys are badly crippled 
and will have to take the aml)ulance 
tomorrow. I am glad I ain't one of 
them. Some of them are shamming 
and it puts every honest soldier that 
comi)lains under suspicion. 

Not man,y minutes after coming 
into camp every fence and movable 
thing in sight is pulled down to 
make the fires. God pity this south 
land when we are rfone with it. 

May 4th. Struck camp, not tents, 
this morning, for we had none. The 
sky all spangled with stars was our 
only covering last night. I lay with 
my Jace to the north and for a long 
time looking at the only thing I 
knew — the north star and the big 
dipper. Tt seems lower down than in 

At Woodville, 8 miles distant, we 
took the train for Chatanooga. Our 
cars were cattle cars. Some of the 
I'oys said g — d — the cattle cars, and 
some said God be praised for even 
cattle cars. At 9 p. m. we got un- 
der way for Chattanooga. Rushing 
thru the mountains, rumbling over 
rivers and gorges that made ones 
head swim to look down. Some of 
the tressels were fearful high. 

May ?)th. Woke up this morning 
just as the train crossed Tennessee 
river. I must have been jolted round 
a good deal as T found myself in the 
corner of the car some four feet 
from where T lay down. T was awak- 
ened by a lot of the boys singing 
"When .Tohnny Comes Marching 
TTome." Max Brill and a comuany K 
man who had somehow got into our 
car. was leading the band. Max 
made the noise and the Co. K man 
made the music. 

.\rrived in sight of at 
11 a. m. The level pliin far as I can 
see is Utterly covered with troops. 
Nothing but tents, tents, tents, by 
the ten thousand. Music by hundreds 


of hands is floatinc; and huniniing 
in the air. IGO thousand ration^ 
were issued this morning to this 
vast army. 

And this was hefore our division of 
ten tliousand men came in. Oot off 
the cars, cooked our dinner and lay 
round on our blanket watching the 
steady trami) of columns goiuK and 
coming until G o'clock. We were 
suddenly ordered into ranks and 
marched out .'> miles and camped for 
the night at the base of Missionary 
Ridge» where our brave comrades 
made that heroic charge in ISGH. 
Lookout Mountain, whose summit is 
swathed in a blue cloud, is about 4 
miles distant from our encampment 
and al)Out the same from Chattanoo- 

May fith. It was late before we 
slept last night. There was a con- 
stant clatter of cavalry passing, of 
carbines and swords jangling and of 
the pounding of gun carriages, over 
• the l)ig rocks that make these roads 
a terror. The boys think we are close 
to a fight and there ain't much loud 
talk. The mail carrier is coming to 
gather the letters, good bye. Will 
write again soon. Direct l)y way of 
Chattanooga. Your boy, 


P. S. Direct to IGth Army Corps, 
via Chatanooga. 

.-^rmy of the Southwest. 

May 1()th, 18G4. 
Dear folks at home: 1 send you 
my diary for three days of hard 
marching and rather hard fare. Your 
letter of .May 1st, was handed me 
just as I finislied my notes last 
evening. Well j am glad a thousand 
times all is well at home. I am pleas- 
ed too that father tliinks my letters 
are better written and better spelled. 
Father is the hardest critic I have. 
But it's all right. I hope someday 1 
May write as perfect a letter as he 
does, but not now. I tell you we 
have mighty little time for study 

these days. I send you my notes for 
three days, so you can juilge. 

May fith. We had hardly time to 
swallow our coffee when we were 
ordered to fall in and march this 
morning before daylight. We march- 
ed out 12 miles thru the Chickamauga 
battle ground. For ten miles of the 
way the woods were scarred and 
limbed and many trees cut in two by 
solid shot. All the way little mounds 
showed where the boys fell and were 
buried. The battle ground is gen- 
erally level and covered with timber. 
The heavy shot have mowed fearful 
paths on all sides thru the tree 
toi)s. Camped a little before sunset 
at GordcTi's Mills. Am sitting with 
my feet in some spring water writing 
these notes. Several of the boys are 
with me bathing their blistered feet. 

May 7th. Broke camp and began 
our march at sunrise thru a rough 
mountainous country, expecting the 
nn(uny to attack any minute. Can- 
nonading is heard on our left. Met a 
let of poor whites leaving the coun- 
try. They are a wretched looking 
lot. They say w-e are the first Yanks 
they ever saw. The horses and 
cattle and pigs, like the peoi)le driv- 
ing them, are the sorriest things I 
ever saw. The wagons were driven 
by the women, and the m.en, with 
long barreled guns and five to ten 
children all white haired, followed 
behind driving the cattle and a shee[i 
or tw^o and sometimes a pig. These 
were all mountain people, the clay 
eaters and liest shots in the rebel 
army. Some of the boys asked them 
what they were fighting for, and they 
answered, " you Yanks w.Tut us to 
marry our daughters to the nig.gers.'' 
Poor ignorant devils. Marched IS 
miles to-day. Went into camp at 
sunset, and such a sunset. Just such 
as i have often seen in my Wiscon- 
sin home, with the bluff tops all 
warm and yellow just fading into 

May Sth. Marched but S miles to- 
day over stony roads and steep 


mountain sides and crossed many 
lieaiitifiil siiring streams, ['"arms, or 
l)lantations as they call them here, 
look as if they had been prosperous 
but they are all deserted. The ne- 
groes have mostly gone and the 
whites are in the army. 

May 9th. It was no secret that we 
were close to the enemy, eighty thou- 
sand strong. Our forward march l)e- 
gan early. We made from S to 10 
miles. The left column of our corps 
met the enemy and for an hour tlie 
cannonade was fierce. The am- 
bulance corps brought back many 
dead and wounded. The wagon trains 
several miles in extent, were halted 
and packed under cover of several 
batteries of artillery and a big re- 
serve of infantry. Mounted orderlies 
were coming and going on fast horses 
. V long. Nobody knew what the 
next hour would bring forth. We 
were ordered to keep our guns in 
prime condition and our boxes full of 

A great army of infantry lay about 
us, all waiting like ourselves for the 
order to march. All of a sudden 
there came a roll of voices in a 
mighty shout from the rear. While 
we were wondering what it meant a 
troo]i of cavalry came galloping along 
headed by the famous cavalry leader 
rjen. Kilpatrick. It made the boys 
feel mighty good to see this daring 
cavalry leader, who was such a 
terror to the rebels. He is a little 
fellow, about 5 feet 5 with brown hair, 
thin l)eard and mild gray eyes. He 
kept touching his hat brim as his 
mare, ^11 foam, went galloi)ing by. 

As the yellow sun went below the 
Ceorgia mountains last night, the 
bands from more than twenty regi- 
ments filled the air with their music. 
I wondered how it would strike the 
ear of the rebel i)icket on the moun- 
tain side in front of us. I rolled in 
my blanket, with my clothes on. and 
tried Jo sleep. About midnight 1 was 
awakened from dreams of home by 
the rushing cavalry horses and the 

.u;rinding of artillery wagons. We 
soon learned that the rebel Gen. 
Wheeler was making a move to 
capture our supply trains. The 
wagons were being hurried to the 
rear and every surrounding regi- 
ment ordered to get in motion and 
join in the retreat. With the rest of 
the army we were soon on the 
counter march, in the darkness, over 
I swollen streams and stumbling over 
i stones we could not see. plunging 
! thru the mud and often entangled In 
the overhanging limbs. God, what 
; a night and what a morning. Can I 
j forget it? No never. The retreat 
, thru the hills of Georgia, following 
; the supi)ly trains of the Union army 
will long be remembered. 1 am all 
right and ready for the fray. — Direct 
via Chattanooga. 

Ever dear parents. 


Sherman's Army, May 10th, 18C4. 
Dear parents: 

I am writing you again to lay. I 
wrote you only day before yester- 
day, but all the boys have the fever, 
as it looks, of writing letters tonight. 
Cannons are booming both on the 
right and on the left, and as our 
Lieutenant says, things look mighty 
squally for tomorrow. I can't say 
that I am a bit nervous, but as the 
boys say, some of us may be where 
we can't send letters tomorrow and 
ibetter send 'em now. 

We were u]) and ready for orders 
to march early this morning but the 
order did not come until 9 o'clock. 
The enemies shells have been 
screaming and bursting over head, 
killing and wounding a lot of men in 
our division. 

Marching out to the front some 
three miles, and we were nearly all 
day doing it, so conflicting were the 
reports of our scouts and couriers as 
to the location and strength of the 

Finally we came to a halt for the 
night just as the rain was pouring 


down in torrents. Everything got 
soaking wet but our powder. We 
kei)t our i)owder dry. I am afraid 
you can't read this, my paper is so 
wet and greasy. In my hurry this 
morning I put my writing paper in 
my liaversack along with my plate 
and sow belly. 

Night came on at last and with it 
the hardest storm I ever saw. Our 
little fly tents let the water thru like 
sieves. We didn't have any time to 
pick up brush for a bed and so lay 
on the ground. Some of the boys said 
they were laying in the water two 
inches deep, when the sentinels came 
rushing into camp shouting, "to arms 
to arms, the rebs are coming." Our 
camp was in a forest of great pine 
trees, and I had gone to sleep, as no 
doubt had the others, while the 
thunder was cra-shing around us and 
th*! wind and rain was pouring thru 
the pine toi)s with an awful roar. 

We were already wet as drowned 
rats when we sprang out into the 
open storm, slinging on our car- 
tridge boxes and knapsacks and 
fastening our dripping blankets to 
our belts, and pulling down our flim- 
sey fly tents and tying them like 
belts around us and falling into the 
retreating column fast as we could. 
No questions were asked, not a word 
was said, every fellow for the time 
was willing to obey orders. The 
brave boys, who generally knew a 
lot more than Sherman, didn't say 
a word last night. 

We turned our backs to the enemy 
and retraced our steps over terrible 
roads, sometimes in mud and water 
to our middle. It was jiitch dark 
only as flashes of lightning lit up the 
struggling mass about us. Stum- 
bling over rocks and roots, many fell 
full length in the muddy water of 
the overflowing streams and in the 
muddy track of the plunging column. 
W^e made about four miles and halt- 
ed near a big corral of supply trains. 
We were ordered to build fires and 
dry our blankets. It's pretty hard to 

tell what Sherman is trying to do. 
The report is that the rebs are 
making feints at different iioints 
along our lines trying to break thru, 
and that Sherman is planning to bag 
their army. 

Our retreat last night looked as if 
we were the party nearest bagged. 
But you can't tell. Sherman has an 
awful army. The line is three col- 
umns deep and twenty miles long. 
That the armies are close together, 
there is no doubt, as we can hear 
guns going all night long. 

We are hearing good news from 
the Potomac. The sun is fearfully 
hot this morning and all hands are 
trying to dry their soaked clothes. 

It is ten o'clock and no orders yet 
to march. The five or six hundred 
supiily wagons along side us in a big 
corn field, with their four and six 
mule teams all plastered with mud. 
show no signs of moving. 

Word has Just come to be ready to 
march in fifty minutes. Couriers are 
galloping up and down the line and 
the ofllcers are calling out orders to 
pick up and pack up. 

Send me some stamps and direct 
iby way of Chattanooga. In haste. 
Love to mother, sister and the boys. 
Will write again first chance. 

Camp in the Pine Woods. near 
Resaca, Georgia, May 17th, 1864. 

Dear Parents: I have something to 
tell you this time. Wc have been in 
a big fight and lost near three hun- 
dred men, killed, wounded and iiris- 
oners. These figures are not correct 
by oflicial returns as shown later. T 
am mighty glad to tell you that 1 am 
all right. I had several close calls as 
did all the boys for that matter. We 
have been under fire and losing men 
right along for three days. Many of 
our boys were killed and wounded at 
long range firing from the Reliel fort 
by shot and shell so far that we could 
not return it and had to take it. A 
good part of the time we were sup- 


porting batteries that were trying to 
silence or dismount the big guns on 
the rebel fort. I want to tell you the 
Johnnies were all fixed for us. Think 
of two hundred guns on our side, 12 
aiyl 11 pounders, pouring shot and 
shell fast as men could load and fire 
into the enemies fort while two, and 
in some places throe, lines , of infant- 
ry were comi^elled to stand or lay in 
front of these batteries, exposed to 
shot and bursting shell and no 
chance to shoot back. I don't know 
where to begin to tell you, nor how 
to tell you, of the last four days, be- 
sides we are under marching orders 
to be ready to go at a moment's 
notice, just as we have been night 
and day for several days. As T write 
this, cannons are roaring on our left 
toward Buzzard Roost and no soldier 
knows what the next hour may bring. 
T can scarcely keep my eyes open to 
write, altho it is but ten o'clock in 
the morning. We have had so little 
sleep for a week, night or day. On 
the 12th, word was passed that the 
rebs had made a stand at Resaca and 
that the place was fortified and 
mounted with big cannons and mor- 
tars. During the night of the 12th, 
Sherman planted his batteries on 
every hill and ridge overlooking the 
town, and in the morning of the 13th, 
at day break, both the rebel fort and 
our ibrass batteries oiiened a terrific 
fire. Our regiment was ordered to 
take a position on advance of a 
string of batteries, while another col- 
umn of infanlry filed in front of us. 
It was a sipht never to be forgot- 
ten, to see, as we could from the 
ridge, column after column of 
troons, two and three lines deep, 
forming in 1 attle line away on our 
left for a mi^o and a hnlf. Here and 
there a bursting shell from the fort 
would throw the lines into confusion 
killin.g and Avounding scores of men 
By the time the smnke cleared up 
the lines would reform, the dead and 
wounded would be carried back by 
the aml)ulance corps. All that day 

until night, the big guns on the fort 
thundered at our liatteries on every 
hill and ridge, on the north and west 
side. I don't know what our lo>3 
was. A shell burst just over us, kill- 
ing and wounding a number in Co. 
K., next our Co. A shell burst direct- 
ly over me, cutting a hole in my 
blanket and the piece making a hole 
in the ground within a few inches of 
my body. The battery, just in our 
rear, was put out of 'business for a 
time by a bursting shell from the 
fort, dismounting three guns, killing 
and wounding the gunners, and 
smashing the gun carriages to spin- 
ters. It was a horrible siglu to see 
the poor fellows wounded and mnn- 
gled. Long before night the valley 
of the Coosa was thick with smoke 
so that we could no longer see the 
belching clouds of smoke sent out 
from the fort. I see a courier gallop- 
ing to head quarters. I suppose it 
means an order to fall in. ^^M11 fin- 
ish my story of the battle Resaca if 
I live, first chance. 

The mail carrier is calling for let- 
ters so good bye. Am feeling fine. 
Your boy, CHAUNCEY. 

Camp in the Pines, Georgia 
Hith Army Corps, May 18th, 1S64. 

Dear parents: After we finished 
breakfast and had stranped on our 
cartridge belt, our haversack and our 
kna'isaick and ^cleaned and primed 
muskets and fallen in. an order came 
to be at ease for an hour or so until 
a long column of cavalry and artill- 
ery, which, wanted all the road, could 
get by. Our foxy old General Sher- 
man was coming another flank move 
to the right, and the cavalry and 
artillery were ordered ahead. 

There is heavy firing five or s x 
miles on our left and word has just 
been passing down the line that the 
rel)s at Palton have made a fierce 
sortie on our lines at that point. It 
looks strange to see our troops 
marching quietly to the right with 
all this rumpus on the left. But our 


bully old General knows his busiiiesa 
a»id wo I'col easy. 

r have something more to tell you 
about Resaca, .while we arc resting. 
Tile evening of the 11th, undercover 
of the smoke that filled the valley 
just l)efore sundown, the lines of in- 
fantry were advanced nearly a mile 
toward the town. Our regiment was 
put on the extreme front. We cross- 
ed the Coosa creek or river, about as 
big as the Elk at Gilmanton, and took 
ui) a position in the edge of the 
woods with a big open plantation or 
clearing betweer- us and the rebel 
infantry, lined up in a strip of woods 
;it the edge of this clearing a quarter 
of a mile from us. The rebels dis- 
covered us first and began a terifflc 
fire on us from their cover of brush 
and logs. Then the order came for us 
to open fire. There is no use to try 
to tell you of the excitement, of the 
cries of the officers, of the whistling 
of bullets and shells and above all 
el:;e the roar of guns. Every fellow 
loaded and fired fast as he could. 
We were ordered to rest on our knees 
instead of standing where we could, 
as at short range firing most of the 
bullets went high. We had not emp- 
tied our boxes before it got dark 
and we had to aim at the line of 
fire from the guns of the enemy. Af- 
ter it got quite dark the firing stop- 
ped and we went 1 ack to the fianic 
of the Coosa and made our coffee, and 
spreading our pouches or rubbers on 
the wet earth, lay down on our 
stomachs with all our l)elts and be- 
longings fastened to us, and tried 
to sleep. It was poor sleeping. We 
thot of the poor fellows who were 
taking their last sleej) and of the 
numy who were suffering from 
wounds and broken limbs. l>ong be- 
fore daylight we were ordered to dig 
trenches and i)ile up log barricades 
on the edge of tiie open clearing 
still nearer to the rebel line of de- 
fence Tiiore was no warm coffee 
the morning of the I'lth. iWe lunch- 
ed on hard tack and some smoked 

bacon and ham that our cavalry boys 
had captured the night before and ra- 
tioned out during the night. 

10 o'clock a. m. We have just had 
a bugle call to fall in, but after 
standing in the ranks a half hour, 
we were ordered again to "gral) a 
root," meaning to rest standing or 
lying down. I take my pencil and 
here goes for the rest of my story. 

All night long some of the wake- 
ful l)oys heard ofllicers on the fort 
swearing and giving orders. Some 
tliot it meant they were moving their 
big guns or they were planting more 
big guns. Anyway when Jhe first 
streak of daylight came, both sides * 
oi)ened a hot musketry fire. Both sides 
were protected behind baricades. 
We thot it strange that there were 
so few big guns 'being used at the 

Our batteries, a naif mile at our 
rear, opened up their thunder ui)on 
the town with very little reply. By 
midday the smoke in the valley of 
the Coosa became so thick we had to 
shoot by guess. I emjHied my cart- 
ridge 1 ox many times during the day 
as did the others. I saw men often 
drop after shooting, but don't know 
that it was my bullet that did the 
work and really hope it was not 
But you know that I am a good 

During the day we took turns 
sleeping behind our log barricades. 
1 could sleep, but. many could not 
with ten thousand guns roaring in 
their ears. 

Say, do you know it was my iSlh 
birthday? Shortly after noon one of 
our cannon shot away the rebel fiag 
on the fort. There must have been 
twenty thousand I^nion soldiers see 
it fall, from the shout that was 'sent 
up along our lines. Such a day and 
such a night. When night vet in not 
a gun replied from the fort. The 
firing ceased on our side. The night 
of the Ifith we lay upon the bare 
earth, eating cold scraps such as we 
had, and listening to sounds at the 


fort we could not understand. In 
the niorn'jig our pickets reported 
that the high brid.^'e across the 
Coosa had been I'.uirned and the 
rebel army liad retreated. Not a 
gun was fired in the morning. The 
fort was silent as the grave. There 
was a hasty gathering of regiments 
/ind forming into column,. But , I 
have no more time for details. 

There is a roar of big guns on our 
right and the cavalry and liatteries 
that have 1)eeni stringing leiisurely 
along, are whipping their horses into 
a trot. They have orders to hurry 
up. Good bye. Your son, 


Near Lost Mountain, Georgia. 2nd 
Brigade, 4th Division, 16th Army 
Corps. May 20th, 1864. 

Dear Parents: 1 have been too 
busy to think of writing for some 
days, and if not busy have been sleep- 
ing or trying to sleep. We have had 
ten days and nights of fearful cim- 
paigning. The doctors are sending 
' ack thousands of men who sick 
and dying for want of sleep. There 
hasn't been a minute of time, night 
or day, that guns are not heard or 
that our regiment has not been losing 
men, and yesterday it all wound up 
with a most terrible fight at Dallas 
or Lost Mountain. 

I am writing this by the light of a 
rail fire laying on- my stoni?ch about 
1 o'clock in the morning. Have been 
on special duty digging trenches and 
piling up log breast wcrks in ex- 
P'^ctatirn of an attack. This sort of 
thing has been going on for eight 
days. One day we would march to 
the right and the next day to the left. 
Lnst*" week we dug trenches during 
the day and marched by night, this 
week we are march'ng by day and 
digging nights. The rebel generals 
keep Sherman guessing most of the 
time. If we did not have a mxich 
bigger army, we would stand a poor 
show in these mountains. For a 
week we have been winding round 

mountains, wading mountain streams 
and twisting about in great pine 
woods, falling ^sleep as we marched 
and stumbling over roots and stones. 
Then we would come to a halt to let 
some cavalry troops get by or some 
batteries that were badly wanted at 
the front. Then we would drop down 
on our. faces where we stood and 
snatch a few minutes sleep, only to 
be routed iby that awful bugle call lo 
roure up and march. The fact is, 
the buggle terrifies us more than reb- 
el bullets. In manj' places the val- 
leys or gorges in these mountains are 
so narrow that we have to wade for a 
long way in the streams that run 
down them. Of course our'feet arc 
always wet, but this water is good to 
drink and we thank God that we 
don't suffer from thirst as we did. 

L-eutenant McKay has just come 
round, as he is on duty to-night, and 
warns me that I better quit my writ- 
ing and go to bed, ?o T must leave oEf 
telling yon of the baUle of . Lost 
Moutain until next letter. 1 took two 
or three naps while scribbling this 
nnd maybe you can't read it. I am 
feeling fine. Have had no letter from 
home lately. Tell Dora to see Miss 
A. and ask her to write. Direct to 
Cl'attanooga, 16t,h Army Corps. 

Goodbye mother and father. Your 
loving CHAUNCEY. 

40 miles from Dallas. Georgia, 
Tn the great pine woods, 
June 1st, 18G4. 
Dear . Parents: For three days we 
have been on si)eKial detail duty 
guarding a supply ira'n of several 
liundred wagons of hard tack and 
ammunition. We came into camp 
kite last night, and while the wagon 
train has inilled out this morning we 
are told to be at ease until future 
orders. I am in the shade of somv-^ 
great pines this morning and I am 
glad, for the heat of the sun is fear- 
ful. With m.y back against a great 
yellow pine T am seated to tell you 
of the fight at Dallas or Lost Moun- 


(;iin. Dallas is a little, sorrowful,! blanket for a shade and lay down as 
humble village of some 600 souIb close together as we could. They got 
about two miles from a great black our range and presently the bullets 
forest covered mounds called Lost | began to whistle past us, striking the 
Mountain. ground but a few feet from us. I 

If I live a hundred years I shall said to John, "Lets get out of this." 
never forget the fearful night of the "'^^'ait" he said, "until they come 
29th of May, 1864, when all the earth' f^'oser." The next moment two shots 
and sky semed on fire and in a' riPPed thru the rubber above us, one 
struggle for life or death. In the' of them grazing .John's breast and 
space of thirty minutes 2,000 men' tearing a hole in the ground between 
were killed and three times as many "«• ^^'^ rolled out of that in a hurry- 
wounded, many of them to die. | grabbed our blankets and took a posi- 

nefore we reached Dallas on the tion lower down the hill. .John 
27th. we had been told by the natives Christian is a dandy boy. He isn't 
along the way that a big army of a^'raid of anything. In the afternoon 
40,000 men was waiting for us Yanks at)Out 4 o'clock, we were relieved to 
on Lost Mountain. On account of ^^^^ a sleep. 

the heavy timber we were within six As soon as it got dark we were 
or seven miles of the mountain be- ordered to build breast works of logs 
fore we saw it. It looked to us like not more than fifty rods of the rebel 
a great big mound two or three miles lines just across a deep gulch from 
long covered with a dense forest. We the foot of the mountain. About ten 
tbonght of Resaca and of course kept at night we were ordered back to 
our eyes on the mountain- at every camp for a few hours sleep, and the 
opening. We didn't make more than next morning at three o'clock before 
five or six miles that day. A halt daylight, we were in these trenches 
would be called every few minutes facing the rebel lines, which were 
to let a cavalry regiment cross, go- protected like ours. All day long we 
ing to the right or the left, or a bat- shot wherever we saw a hand, a head 
tery, sometimes two or three, would or puff of smoke, and the rebels did 
come tearing by, when we would take the same. Some times our side would 
to the si(*e of the road and drop call out to the rebs, asking them to 
down on our bellies for a nap till hold up and talk things over. "All 
they got by. We camped on the out- right," they would say, and for some 
skirts of Dallas on the night of the time both sides would talk over 
27th between the town and the moun- things about the war, and about 
tain. There were only a few people their girls, and about exchanging 
left in town and they were packing hard tack for ham and whiskey for 
up and hurrying away in expectation tobacco. Then some voice would 
that the town would be burned. | call out look out for your life, and 

On the morning of the 2Sth, .John the shooting would begin. Several 
W. Christian and 1 were detailed to times during the day both sides 
go on picket duty. Our beat layj would agree to a truce for ten minutes 
within SO rods of the rebel breast or twenty minutes, and some of the 
works on the side of Lost Mountain, j more daring on both sides would 
Sharp shooters in the tops of the meet half way and exchange tobacco 
trees kept pegging away at us for for whiskey and sometimes news- 

four hours. \V"e changed our position 
several times but they keitt their eyes 
on us. We were in a corn field full 
of rotten stumps. We got behind 
one of these stumps put up a rubber 

papers, sometimes to shake hands 
merely. Soon as the first fellow got 
back to his barricade he would call 
out, "Say pard are you ready"' If 
the answer came back all ready, at 


once a dozen guns, perhaps a hundrcdi (cannon) had taken a position Justin 
would answer back the challenge. | our rear. Leather Breeches had the 
About the middle of the afternoon best l)attery in the army and every 
the canteen of my squad, some '0 soldier knew that when the old Dutch 
men were empty. The orderly in captain's war dogs barked it meant 
cornmand called for volunteers to' business. Before the smoke had 
take the canteens and carry ihem cleared away, that sent a shell into 

the rebel ranks, the boys would run 
up and hug the guns and call them 
dear girlie. 

We were in the edge of a corn field 
littered with stumps and stubs. In 

'^ack to the branch some 00 rods and 
refill them. 

I was the first man to Kten out and 
Jake Bolunger of Alnui followed me. 
(I dared a certain r^omrade whose 
name I will not give hero t6 go with 
me. It was a dangerous (hity and' the three lines laying just in advance 
just as I expected he -efuse'l.) I of some fifty big guns on the ridge 

.Take aand T made the trip all right we could see all of our division and 
' n!h romin.u a'll goin-? over a -idge Part of another. We ate our hard 
m plain view ;v>",d range of «• arp tack and drank cold water for supper 
shooters who i eltod us with a shower and we lay down for a little rest with 
of bullets boih \va:;i. .aire fell down all our belts and blankets strapi)ed 
nn his way out not twenty rods from on. Everything had grown quiet 
the trenches. I had got to a stump along our front save a few shots from 
and made a halt to get my second the sharp shooters. On our left there 
wind, I called to him. He answered was an occasional boom of cannon 
baf'k I am all right. The rebel sharp some miles off. Yes, and now and 
shooters, thinking they had killed then a burst of spiteful musketry 
him stopped shooting at him when close on both our right and left. We 
be jumped up and ran over the ridge were finally lulled into a broken 
out of sight. We got back with our sleep by the music of many regimen- 
canteens of water all safe. i tal bands, which our General had 

(This letter be'ng too long for a ordered to keep playing. We lay 
single publication we will complete down on the bare earth with every- 
it in the next week's issue. Editor.) thing strapiied to us but our guns 

Continued from last week's issue.) and the air of "Home Sweet Home" 

Farly in the evening of May 29th in our ears. It was near 1 o'clock at 
after a day of incessant musket firing night. There was no threUcning 
we were ordered back to camp along sound save the steady tram|) of the 
with the rest of our division. There Kith army Corps with its infantry and 
had been a rumor that the .Johnnies cavalry and batteries moving steadilv 
frebels) were evacuating and still 1o the left without any voice of com- 
ano^her storv that they were con- mand. Our cat uaps were yiven 
cenfra^ing all their cannon along the away to sound sleep when, from the 
line of our front and were planning forest height of Lost Mountain, there 
an assault. There was a mystery came a chorus of Dugle notes that 
about it that kept our officers guess- cau!:ed 50,000 Union soldiers tired 
inp. The thing ;that looked sus-' and weary, to spring to their ice'. 
picious to us, if we were to make a We knew too well 1h;it it meant an 
flnnk move, was the Tncreased number onslaught of the re'' el army. In an 
of batteries that were lined up along instant we were on our feet. The 
the crest of the ridge just above and next moment came the command: 
behind us. Word was passed along "I'ie down until the enemy shows 
the line that old Leather Breeches, itself aliovc the crest of the hill." I 
with his eight big brass bull dogs have no pen to tell you of the awful 


scenes and sounds uf the next three with all its scenes, are pretty well 
quarters of an hour. How near the preijared for any event this side 
re' el infantry c;ime to our lines that eternity. Full of whiskey and gun- 
nislit wo do not know. The heavens powder the rebel ranks charRed again 
al ove ts seemed to boil with lieryj a"d again the Union lines, only to be 
red smoke from ours and the rebelj repulsed again and again with fear- 
ranuons. It must bo we were too f'll slaughter. They charged with 
well |)repare(l. Not a half mile from their hats pulled down over their 
our right a thousand men were killed^ eyes like men who cared only to 
in ;;o minutes and three thousand | throw away their lives. With every 
were wounded, perhaps most of themi repulse of the rebels, a cheer of 
irorlally. O God, whiit a night was! victory came up the Union lines and 
the night of May the 29th for Sher-I was borne away in a mighty roar by 
man's army. It fwas a night of' fifty thousand eager voicen on our 
dazzling, glaring, shrieking sounds.' 'eft. For the rest of the night we 
The earth seems crashing into ten. slept upon our arms within ear shot 
thousand atoms. The sky but aa' of the cries of the wounded and 
hour ago so pitchy l)l;ick. seems ])oil-j dying, every house in Dallas being 
ing with smoke and flame. And the pressed into service as a hospital, 
horrid shrieking shot, and bursting The cries of the wounded and dying 
shells, then the shouting of com- murdered all sleep for me that night 
manners and cheering of men, and I thot many many times of 
mingled with the sputter of muskets father's saying: "That every life 
and the roar of batteries, made the taken ^by Union or Rebel bullets was 
world about us seem like a very hell, a sacrifice to the crime of slavery." 
Just beliind our division alone was a You may have to pay some extra 
solid line of cannon for near a half postage on this heavy paper. T am 
mile, vomiting fiery streams of shot w^riting on ]iaper torn from some 
and shell that came screaming close merchant's ledger, picked up in the 
above our heads. Many of tliem were streets of Pains. The boys have run 
so 'badly timed that they burst al)OTe out of letter paper and are using any 
our lines, killing and wounding our sort of paper. 

own men. And for every broad side Orders have been passed along the 
from our big guns there came an line to be prepared for a night's 
answering roar from the rebel lines, march. 

The real death struggle at short I have not had a letter for some 
range musket firing was a quarter of days. The report is the railroad in 
a mile on the right of our division. o''r rear has been cut by a raidins: 
The forest there was dense and un- party. If this is so you may not get 
broken. There most of the 4.000 this letter very soon, 
men, who were killed and wounded, There is a rumor that the rebel 
fell, and all in less than an hour. We nrmy is making another stand at a 
talked it all over with the fellows place called nig Shanty, 
who were in the thick of it next morn- Am feeling all right. Love to all. 
ing. How they were under marching CHAl^NCEY. 

orders to move to the left, how they 

had quit the trenches under the be- Ifead Quarters First Rattallion 2nd 
lief that the rebel army was retreat- Brigade Ifith Army Corps, Camp in 
ing. Then came those itugle notes the Georgia Pine Woods, 
which meant a rebel charge and a .lune 2nd. 1Sfi4. 

fight to the finish. They may tell of| Dear Mother: >i awaki^ned this 
hell and its awful fires, but the boys morning with my face and feet both 
who went tlu'U the fight of Dallas^ outalde my rubber 'blanket, washed 


by the falling rain. I was on duty 
until 1 o'clock digging trenches and 
building breastworks. Our division 
of six regiments is on special duty 
guarding supply trains of wagons 
loaded with ammunition and pro- 
Tisions for a hundred thousand men. 
Since I wrote you last our brigade 
has moved twice, but not more than 
two miles each time. The fact is, we 
move as the rebel army moves. We 
are on the extreme right of Gen. 
Sherman's big army, and we have to 
be wide awake and on the alert for 
the flankers. Most of us have been 
wet to the skin night and day for 
several days. Our worry is to keep 
our powder dry. for our lives we are 
ordered to do this. We like the wet 
better than breathing the thick dust 
that Alls the air from the tramp of 
so many thousand feet. We don't 
fear any sudden attack from the 
rebel's general Hood or Polk en- 
masse, but the bodies of rebel cavalry 
are hovering round ready to pounce 
on our provision trains and on their 
guards any hour of the day or night. 
This compels us to be always on the 
move, changing our position. Yes- 
terday a reconnoitering force of the 
enemy, supported by a battery of 
artillery, came out on a hill a mile 
and a quarter distant and opened 
fire upon our lines just in our front. 
For some moments the sputtering 
musketry and bursting shells sound- 
ed like a general engagement. But 
soon, Jo our delight. Leather Breech- 
es, with his war dogs and their cas- 
sions drawn by 128 big horses, gal- 
loped jnto position just behind us and 
with eight big guns opened fire with 
their ear splitting roar on the rebel 
battery. It seemed nip and tuck 
to us fellows, who were waiting with 
our muskets, as to which would quit 
first in this duel of big guns. The 
rebels had fewer cannon, but they 
were fighting, as their smart leaders 
told them, for their wives and child- 
ren. A heavy jain began falling ajbout 
this time and the rebel cannon ceas-! 

ed firing altogether. As some of the 
boys say when they run against 
"Leather Breeches," they are "sure 
up against it." The next morning 
early a body of our cavalry, sent out 
to reconnoitre, surprised a company 
of them playing cards in a log house 
and captured 40 of them. The boys 
sent up a wild hurrah when they 
heard of this. We cannot forget the 
boast of the south that it would take 
four "Yanks" to match one southern- 
er. And do you know mother. I 
somehow had the feeling that the 
south was more than our match man 
for man, they did so much bragging. 
But that's their way, besides if they 
were not fighting to keep us away 
from their homes we could tell bet- 
ter. The prisioners we talk with, 
and we see them every day, say we 
"Yankees" are fighting to free the 
niggers so they can marry white wo- 
men. What miserable stories they 

It is raining to-day a slow, drizz- 
ling rain. Have just come in from a 
two hours stunt on the trenches. The 
boys who have taken our places are 
working in a pouring rain and are 
wet to the hide. They are deepening 
trenches and piling up musket proof 
breast works, which as Col. Mont- 
gomery says: "We may leave the 
next hour or possibly not for a week." 
The boys make a joke of their dig- 
ging by saying there is silver in 
Georgia and they are mining for it. 
And then it is taken as a good sign 
that we are soon to leave entrench- 
ments which it takes a day and a 
night to build. 

I sent you a letter day before yes- 
terday giving an account of our late 
movementij, so J am 'keeping you 
well posted. 

George Ide, of Mondovi, died yes- 
terday. He had been sick but tw) 
days. Poor fellow, what will his 
parents think? Chet Ide, his uncle, 
felt very bad. Hq had been withth* 
company but a short time but the 


boys will miss him because he was show that we will outflank Hood and 
such good company. get into Atlanta ^before long^ Uet 

^t goo. many o. the boys are break- - the / ^e^^U'we S't pr^s 
jng down for waiU os^eep^ The I fault a^^^^^^ Great Heavens. think 

ing uuwii lui """>. -• - ■ faster Great Heavens, iniun 

?,?r°^,ra to^-Sr-eoS '' X."r.ave to .o. ■ use.., won- 

Am feeling all right. Hope to ge 
a letter tonight from home. 

Your son, 


der why the Potomac army did not 
move faster. Then I knew nothing of 
marching in armies of one or two 
hundred thousand men. Let people 
stop and think about these things, 
then they will be more patient. Let 
In the Pine Woods, Georgia, me tell you something about it. Army Corps, .June 6th, 1864.' Sherman has five army corps of from 
Dear Parents: 1 am off duty and 15 to 25 thousand men in each corps, 
have had six hours of refreshing nap. Each corps is following in the same 
Henry Morse has just il.een to see me direction on parellel roads from 3 to 
and asked me to say nothing that 5 ^iles apart. Each corps means a 
will get to his folks about his health.' string of men, four abreast, of from 
He is bad off with bowel trouble, but eight to ten miles long. There is an 
he doesn't want his people to know army of rebels posted on every one 
of it. Thev have cut our rations in of these roads with cannon at every 
half and. every fellow is hungry.' cross road, cavalry dashing in upon 
Every few davs our cavalry raiders our flaaks and sharp shooters pick- 
captiire a lot of smoked meat and jng our men off at every oP^ninS 
corn i)ones, and lots of the boys over where the pine forests come within 
eat because it's good, and they are a half or quarter of a mile of tne 
down sick. Henrv is one of them. road. You can see the time we are 
The trouble is, we can't eat here like having. If one of the corps is atoppea 
we can in Wisconsin. If we eat a by trees fallen across the road so 
good fill we are off our feed for a day the cannon or the cavalry cannot 
or two. W^ien our rations are short pass, couriers are sent to stop au 
the bovs go to the Quartermaster's the other corps until the way is clear 
and If" they have a dime, fill up on ed. All the bridges are burned by 
pie and cake, and Its regular poison the retreating rebels and have to oe 
to them. I dreamed last night about rebuilt, which causes a delay. Some 
the cheese which you wrote about times we use pontoons, boats made 
in the letter I got three days ago. of canvas anchored In the rivers witn 
Sure I would like a taste of it. but planks stretched from one to tne 
mother I wish vou would stop mak- other. Where the roads are OD- 
ing clioose with all vour other work, structed they fall timber on botn 
its too much. Mother, I don't re- sides for miles and sharpen the 
member that I helped you very much limibs so we can't get thru. A QO^en 
in Mich work, but it seems to me if I times every day we come to a halt, 
was home again I could help you in for what we don't know. It s a sate 
so manv ways that I never tho't of guess that its a broken wagon axel, 
liofore "and I will be home again a crippled cannon or a played oui 
somediiv 1 am sure we soldiers will icassion truck. No questions are 
have good times again to pay for asked. We are only too glad to jau 
this This war will not last always, down on our faces and snatch a rew 
Gen Grant is flaxing them in Vir- minutes sleep. There are more de- 
giniu and 1 saw the other day in an lays from ammunition and sow 
Atlauta ;paper that Gen. She(rman belly" wagons breaking down than 
could "outflank Hell," so there is a from any other one cause. Ihen 


the gorillas are forever attacking 
our rear guard, and sometimes bodies | 
of men and batteries have to be sentj 
back to help them out. All this, 
means a delay. 

Sister Dora wrote that father ex- 
pected to buy a couple of cows of 
Mr. Harvey. I think it a good deal as 
I shall want a lot of milk, butter and 
cheese when I come home, if T do, 
this winter. Every body thinks the 
rebellion on its last legs, and that 
means the end of it when we get in- 
to its strongest and last defense At- 

An Orderly has just ridden up to 
Brigade Headquarters and, as it may 
mean something serious, will close 
for this time. Please send stamps in 
your next. Your son 


In the Pine Woods of Georgia, 
16th Corps, 25th Wis. Regt 
June 9th, 1864 
Dear Folks at Home: It is only 
two or three days ago that I wrote 
you, but I have the time and it seems 
like being with you to be writing to 
you. Your last letter of June 2nd 
came last night. I am surprised that 
Mrs. G. W. Gilkey has gone back to 
teaching school, and I don't know 
why I am surprised either. Both she 
and Gilkey are natural born teachers 
and then teaching is just as much 
needed as soldiering. I would like 
to be at home where the roar of can- 
non and the sputter of musketry 
night and day would not disturb me, 
but half sick and tired as I some- 
times feel, I want to see this war 
ended right before I give up. A good 
many of the boys are swearing about 
it every day and wishing they were 
out of it. It keeps my courage up 
when I think of what father said to 
me in Ruf Fuller's grove just as I got 
into the wagon for Alma. He said: 
■'This is a war for human rights and 
human liberty, my boy, don't giet dis- 
couraged." I suppose he was think- 
ing of the slaves in the south. As 

I never saw tears in his eyes l)efore, 
it gave me a strange feeling at the 
time that I can't forget. As much as 
I long to get home I would rather 
serve out another year than to quit 
before the South is whipped to a 
finish. I have just been down to the 
creek, or the branch, as they say 
here, and had a good wash. The rain 
which has kept us wet for nearly a 
week, has passed and the wind is 
cool, something like Wisconsin. 

We are bivoaced on the bank of a 
lazy stream. There is something 
about the droo])ing branches that re- 
calls that old melody of the south, 
"Dearest May." Sitting on the bank 
in the dense shade all about, which 
makes the day almost like twlight, I 
could sleep were it not for the con- 
stant roar of cannon hotit on the right 
and the left. A lot of boys like my- 
self just off picket duty have lop'ped 
down on the bank, some writing, 
some sleeping, some with clothes olf 
hunting grey backs (bodylice,) others 
trying to write, as I am, to their 
homes. It is being talked that we 
are soon to move. This talk of 
march to the right or the left is fear- 
ful trying. We hear it talked about 
all day long and dream about it of 

June Sth — ^Came off guard duty 
last night at 9 a. ni., marched until 
eleven o'clock at night with scarcely 
a rest and fell down several times, as 
did my comrades, over stones and 
ruts and roots. We had marched 
some 10 miles and halted at the rail- 
road. W^ent into camp and lay down 
with little or no rations. The boys 
are hungry and there is a lot of loud 
cursing. Many of them are singing 
the hard tack song. I tell yos it 's 
pretty hard to tramp night and day 
on half rations. Have been digging 
trenches four hours to-d!ay. It is 
getting dusk and must close. The 
rebel General Hood is fixing things 
for us away on the right and Sher- 
man has ordered the oulk of his army 

that way to thrash him. Remember a railroad running direct to Marrietta 

and write often. some S miles out. Gen Hooker is on 

Your son, the right flank and Thomas on the 

CHAIINCEY. I left, and ])oth are closing in toward 

the center. Kennasaw Mountain 

fortified with a hundred cannon and 

P. S. Have unsealed this letter to 

tween us and Marrietta. We are so 
close to Kennasaw on our front that 

have vou tell Henry Morse s folks , . , » ^ k^ 

1 \ u • 11 • 1* /\ 1 • '♦ «,i., looming down upon us, stands be 
ihat he is all right, out he am t, only 

he doesn't want his folks to know it 

he is to be sent back to Field hos^- ^ ^^^^^^^ ^^ 

pita, near Dalas. in the morning. ( ^^^j,^ .^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^ 

He IS looking bad^ ^ ^,^^y ^^^ ^^,^.^^ .^ ^.^^^ ^j, ^^^^^ 

' might. 1 am sure there are thousands 

2;ith Wis. Vol. Tnft., 10th .\rmy of boys like myself, half asleep and 

Corps, "Ith Division, June lUh to 14th. half awake, who are taking their 

Dear Mother: I am no baby but chance of beiing blown to pieces. The 

your letters bring tears to my eyes fellows who are well are passing the 

snive times. You tell me of so many time away playing cards in the 

things about home and what you are ditches behind trenches. Now and 

(loiirr, what Elder Morse and the then a bursting shell spoils the game, 

neighl)ors at Gilmanton are saying, mixes the count and starts a row. 

and al out the cows, the pigs and the By and by peace is declared and the 

<'lii( Uer.s, that I can see them almost .game goes on. 

as well as tho T was there. It is the it's a strange life we are leading, 

same old story here. All of the past ^Yhile it rains most of the time, there 
four days have found us on the line , ,. , . * - n 

of battie with skimishers close in ^^^^^s a day ot sunshine so fearfully 

front iJoping away at each other night hot we keep moving our blankets to 

:ind day, never stoi)ping for the awful keep in the shade of the trees. With 

rain that has been falling day and the naked eye we are so close to the 

nisht for two weeks. For days, es- rebel lines on the top of the mountain 

pecially, it has been a steady down that we can see them moving about. 

pour of cold rain. We have no tents W'e are too far to use our muskets 

that will turn anything but the dew, and they are too high to use their 

and everything we have, but our cannon on us. Once in awhile a shell 

l)owder, is soaking wet. We are in a drops amongst us and then every 

great flat field and all about us is fellow playing cards or taking a nap 

flooded with water. We have to lay gets a move on himself. We don't 

on rails and brush and logs to keep mind the musket shots ripping thru 

off the wet ground. The rebels are the tree toi)s and killing a man now 

liostrd on a hill or mountain four and then, but those shells, when they 

miles in front of us. Their signal strike, dig a hole big enough for a 

flafrs, with which they talk from one cellar and they make the dirt fly. 

army head quarters to another, are When they fly over your head they 

itlainly seen by us thru the day tho make a scream that is terrible to 

we don't read their signals. By night hear. 

on the distant mountain tops they There was a bunch of us called for 

build flres by which they talk to each ^ drink the other day at a house 

other. where an old lady met us. She look- 

Our corjis, Ihat is the Kith corps, ed cross enough when some of the 

is about the renter of the advancing boys sat down in her easy chairs, 

column, which means a strip of coun- She said we would get a good licking 

trv about 30 miles wide. We are on If we ever met the rebel Gen. John- 


son. One of the boys asked her why 
he did not whale us at Dalton, or 
Tunnel Hill or Resaca. "He would," 
she said, "'if Gen. Sherman and an 
other regiment hadn't outflinked 
him." There is a fearful roar of 
cannon on our left at this minute. It 
must come from our side. I don't 
understand it because we are at the 
extreme left of the line of fortifica- 
tions on Kennasaw. Thank heaven 
the rebels are not in it with us when 
it comes to cannon. We have the 
big guns and can hammer down their 
lines of defense, and we need them 
because it's one line of defense after 

But enough for this time. No 
letter for some days. Dan Hadley is 
calling for coffee, but I don't care 
for any. Have been a bit off my feed 
for some days. The war will be over 
some day. Goodbye. 

Your Son, 


Camp near Acquorth, Georgia, 
• June 19th, 1864, 16th Army Corps. 

Dear father: I am writing some 
of you nearly every day. I don't ex- 
actly know why either. One thing 
that set me to thinking of home was 
when Henry Morse came and bid me 
good bye. He had been ordered to 
report to the field hospital. Henry 
was feeling ibad and he looked bad. 
Say as little about it as you can to 
his folks. Henry was never tough, 
he had no endurance. I was sorry to 
see him go because I don't believe I 
shall ever see him again. (Henry 
never returned to the regiment. He 
died in a field hospital and was bur- 
ied in a plain board box under the 
solemn pine trees in whose branches 
every south wind' chants a sad re- 
quiem above his grave.) 

1 have something else to tell you. 
Yesterday was a mighty eventful day 
to our Brigade. In the morning or- 
ders came for three companies of 
each regiment to get In position and 

be prepared to charge the rebel lines 
on the farther side of the plantation, 
bounded on that side as on ours by a 
heavy forest. In a short time fifteen 
companies of our brigade were in line 
and under cover of a bit of rising 
ground, we advanced to within sixty 
rods of the rebel earth works and 
took a parellel position to them along 
a washout or gully with a big peacli 
orchard between us and the rebel 
lines. Here we waited for nearly an 
hour while sharpshooters in the tree 
tops beyond the peach orchard kopt 
picking off our men. Our orders 
were to save our amunition and not 
to fire a shot. Then came the com- 
mand to fix bayonets and charge the 
rebel lines. Then we climed out of 
our ditch and made a wild rash for 
the rebel lines. The air was alive 
with whizzing bullets and the wild 
shooting of the enemy tore up the 
sand and filled our eyes with dirt. 
We reached the rebel lines without 
firing a shot, and strange enough we 
lost but a few men killed and wound- 
ed on our side. The retreat of the 
rebels was complete. Soon after our 
occupation of the rebel lines, some 
darkies, who had deserted the rebel 
army, came to us and told us how 
the rebel General Polk had been kill- 
ed in a log house near our lines. 
They pointed out the holes made by 
the twelve pound shot of our cannon 
and showed us the blood stains on the 
logs of the hut. 

We can see Kennesaw Mountain in 
the distance and the rumor is that 
the rebel army will make a big fight 
at that point. There is a railroad 
I)assing near us that runs into Mar- 
rietta just 'beyond Kennesaw Mount- 
ain and for some reason Gen. Sher- 
man keeps an engine armored with 
steel plat es,running back and forth * 
as near the mountain as he dare. I 
wouldn't like to be the engineer. 

As I write T can hear cannons eight 
or ten miles on our right and the 
They know him by the rattle of his 


boys say it's "Leather Breeches." initil I came off duty In the morning, 
cannon. We had not been an hour The next relief that went on kept up 
in our new camp liefore we were un- a constant fire all day long. It rained 
der marching orders for Kennesaw so hard all the forenoon the boys 
Mountain. were in the water over their shoe 

Almost forgot to tell you I got your loi)s in the trenches. This is just 
letter of .June 10th with stamps and about the 9nth time it has rained 
a dollar enclosed. We have full ra- s'nre this campaign commenced, and 
lions now and I don't need the dollar it's no drizzel drozzel like we have 
but I may later. Tell mother not in Wisconsin, but a regular down- 
to worry. It takes tons of lead to pour, 
kill a man. If I can escape desea; e I June SSth. 

am not afraid of bullets, and Sher- When the i)ickets came in off the 

man Is far more careful of his men I'ne this morning they had quite a 

than Grant. iiretty story to tell of how they 

Will writo again soon. chummed it with some Louisiana 

Your son, debs. A company of our Indiana boys 

OHAUNCEY. met a compan|y of Louisiana reb- 

els half way between the two lines. 

Hd. Quarters, 25th Wis. Vol. '^^ey stacked arms, shook hands, ex- 
Camp near Kennesaw Mountain, Ga. changed papers, swapped tobacco, 
June 24th, 1S64. ^'^^^ each other a lot of things about 
Dear Parents: Had just nicely their feelings and how they wished 
finished my notes for yesterday in ''^f* ^'^^ would end so they might go 
my diary when we Avere ordered to '^^^^ to their homes and be good 
fail in for picket duty on the skirmish ^r'en-ls again, shook hands once more 
line. There was no hesitation on the ^^'ith tears in their eyes as they bid 
part of any of the boys. They knew ''ach other goodbye forever, and 
well enough what it meant. It was •''fter calling to each other to be sure 
ju?t as if the southern army was in- ♦^''at both sides were ready, commenc- 
vading Buffalo county, not a man of '-d ^ furious fire on each other, 
them knowing a foot of the country, Arain the reports of Gen. Polks 
yet they were exuected by their offi- death is confirmed. He was cut in 
cers to hold their own against the two by a cannon shot not 50 rods 
native inhabitants, wiio knew every from whore we charged the rebel 
read and bye i)ath and hill and val- lines at Big Shanty. The death of 
ley. The rebels had their lines al- Gen. Polk means that the rebel army 
ready made. Under cover of the is now in command of Gen. Hardee, 
night our lines were pushed close to Th's means more fighting. Hardee 
theirs. We made a bargain with is a hrt head and will force the fight- 
them that we woula not fire on them ing. 

if they would not fire on us, and tboy The valley between us and Kenno- 
were as good as their word. It y^ems saw Mountain is full of smoke from 
loo bad that we have to fight men cannon that have been vomiting their 
that we like. Now these so'itbern awful fire all day long. We are so 
soldiers seem just like our own boys, close under the mountain they do us 
only they are on the other side. They very little damage. Our batteries, 
talk about their people at home, their j';st in our rear, have been paying 
mothers and fathers and their sweet- them back with interest, 
hearts just as we do among ourselves. .\n order has just come that some 
Both sides done a lot of talking back twenty of our company is to .so on 
and forth, but there was no shooting picket duty tonight, and I am in that 


list. I had just put asldie tny note you can't eat strawberry short cake, 
book when the captain called to me Why mother, you ought to have eaten 
and said I would be excused. I hate your share and about four more 
to own it, but 1 am very close to the shares for me. Now that you are out 
sick list. I am not scared a bit, 1 am of debt, for goodne^s sake enjoy life 
sure 1 shall be all right soon. It is while you can. I wonder now, when 
the diarrhoea that has been going for I think of it, when we husked corn to- 
me for some days, but 1 am careful gether and you talked about our 
and I am setting better. Will write debts and was so troubled about it, 
in a day or two again. that I didn't think more of it than I 

Your boy, did. 1 am glad, yes I am happy. 

CHAUNCEV. away off here in Georgia, that Uar- 

P. S. Dora's explanation is satis- wood has got the last dollar due him. 
factory. Dora is a wise sister I must I know that he has been the cause of 
own. many tears to you and father that I 

never .saw and he was good and would 

Head Quarters, 25th Regiment Wis. ^'^7, saved you the tears too if he 

Vol. rn Dark Yellow Pine Forest, ^""l^- ^o^l^^"-^ please don t worry 
Ga., June 27th. 1861. ^"^ "^"''^ about me. We are on full 

rations now and have plenty to eat 

My Dear Ones at home: I got ^^d good enough, 
your last letter, written the 19th of q,,^ Brigade still holds the same 
this montix, yesterday. It was the poj,i,,iou as when I wrote you last 
best medicine for what ailed mo ^he rebels are holdmg the mountain 
nave talien for some time, and li I j^ f^ont of us in easy range of their 
must tell tales out of school, 1 have ^eavv guns. This morning when the 
had several doctor's prescriptions of 5,,,^ ^^^^ ^p ^,p ^^^i^j ^^^ ^j^^ ^1^^^^ 
late, which I am suppsed to take as ..^ ^^^ cannon up against the blue 
a dutiful soldier, but I haven't done ^^j, j^^^ i^gf^^e our guns opened on 
It. I think every day of the jibes t^^j^ ^^^^ g^eat clouds of smoke from 
father used to make about the doc- ^y^^^j. ,^^y^^^^ jj^^j.^i^ ^^^^^ pourim; 
tors and their pills and 1 just put the ^p,^.„ ^,10 mountain side. They would 
powders the doc gives me in my poc- j^g^p ^^^^^^ jj ^g ^.^yj^j j^^ ^^era alone, 
ket and the first time I go out back ,^1,^ (,„r gj^e begins the assault and 
I throw them away. They give a ^^e most alwavs fire the last round, 
sight of astringent stuff for bowel pay after day it is a duel of cannon., 
trouble, which is the most common ^^^,^ ^^^^^ (jn^gj, th^ roar of big guns 
It is just horrible to take and 1 throw j^ deafning and the smoke hides the 
nearly all of mine away. If I am mountain from us. Last evening 
doing wrong tell me so. l,ot,h sides stopped Bring about the 

Your letter came thru in si.K days, same time and heavy firing was heard 
I am glad for the $1.2.5 it brought me. away beyond iVIarrletta some miles 
tlio we are on full rations again of on our left front. This Kennesaw 
bard tack and sow belly. I can use mountain is a bad one, for Sherman, 
the money to buy eggs of the sutler, and be is trying to come a flank 
tho mo^t of them are spoiled. movement both on the right and the 

Mother, why do you worry so much loft to cut them off from communica- 
about me? I am all right and your tinn with Atlanta, twenty miles away, 
letters hurt me worse than aiythinc: My company went on picket line 
else. To think that you don't enjoy duty this iflorning. A lot of the boys 
your meals thinking of me hurts ter- got off because they were sick, or 
ribly, and the worst of all to think claimed to be. Your son was among 


the number. Without my asking, the a mile from our front and kept get- 
doctor had checked me as unfit for ting heavier as it sounded farther 
picket duty. I was glad of it and away. We had just finished supper, 
in a way I hated it. Every coward and many of the boys had comraenc- 
in the army tries to get off picket ed their card games. Then the boys 
duty because it is dangerous. Every began to yell, that's Hardee, the 
soldier that gets e«cnsed has to stand fighting rebel general." The card 
a lot of guying about being a coward, games stopped and every man was 
The boys have let me alone since the listening. The musketry grew loud- 
Resaca fight and the Dallas fight. er until it was one continuous roar. 

The diarrhoea has got a bit of a ^'-^'hile we were wondering and listen- 
grip on me again tho it is getting iiig- suddenly couriers from division 
better. I got it in this way: I went and corps head quarters mounted on 
down to Division headquarters some foaming horses, came galloping by. 
two weeks ago to get some hard tack (arrying orders to Brigade and Regi- 
and pork. While waiting for my mental commanders. Then from the 
turn I noticed an open barrel of white left to th^ right came the rush of 
sugar. Watching my chance, while cavalry regiments pell mell. many of 
the guards back was to me, I dipped the boys without their hats or ca|)s, 
my hands twice full in my blouse trying to keep up. Then cam© the 
pocket. I ate the sugar soon as I word that the fighting Gen. Hardee, 
came away and ever since I have with a picked army was assaulting 
been paying the i)rice. T am sure our lines on the right. While we 
that I shall soon be all right again were rapidly forming in rank leaving 
This staying so quiet in camp for everything but our guns and ammu- 
days without marching cr any kind uitioii. battery after battery came 
of exercise is bad for our health. pounding by, the drivers on the lead 

Tho orderly has just been around near horse of every pair whipping 

warning us to have our g'.ms in i)er- with all his might. For nearly an 

feet order and be roady to nurcli at 'lour we waited and listened to the 

a moments notice. swe'ling and receding roar of Muske- 

Tell sister D -her e.vplanation is try. There was little or no report of 

satisfactory. Love to all, cannt^n. Both sides were afraid that 

Your son. lh( y might kill their own men. In 

CHAUNCEY. the course of an hour, as twilight 

camc^ on, the roar of musketry grew 

Head Quarters, 2nd Brigade, KUb v^i'i'dually less and finally ceased. 

.\rmy Cori)s, Near Kennesaw Moun- The next morning we learned that 

tain. Georgia, .July 4th, 1864. the rebel general Hardee had been 

Dear Folks at home: Many things ••^*'"'f 7'^"";f ^"^^ ^'^^'^^ •"^'"f: 

have happened in this war cursed "T'^' ^^j? thousand men m killed 

and wounded, our side captured near. 

ly a thousand prisoners. 

land since my last letter to you. On- 
ly the next day after my last letter 

of .June 2Sth, the rebel army under Wo are under marching orders to 

Gen. Hardee made a fierce attack on start at any minute. I^ike myself 

our lines on the right. It was unex- many iiov-'s around me are writing 

pected by us. The day had been fear- perhaps the last message to father or 

fully hot when just i)efore sunset, mother or sweetheart. It's a fearful 

when the big guns had stopped their strain to live such a life and yet the 

terrible booming, all at on^e there fear of bullets don't bother me half 

came up from the right wing a spite- as much as the fear of disease. But 

ful burst of musketry. It started not strange to think, soldiers never think 


of dying of disease. Just the same moment to be ordered into ranks. For 
not ten minutes passes during our the rest of tlie niglit we lay upon 
long encampments, but we Ivear the our fares and slept. Many times the 
muffled funeral drum and the hlailk rattling of the sabers of passing cav- 
musket disfharges, above some sol- airy vr the rumbling of artillery with 
dier"s grave, who died a victim of their heavy guns would awaken me. 
southern fever I must close. Hardee We knew from this that there was a 
has been thrashed and the order's general movement of Sherman's army 
are that we are to move to the right, to the right. Early on the morning 
The hi" black cannon on Kennesaw of the :!rd of July we became aware 
in fron*! of us are strangely silent, from the unusual silence of the reb^l 
It looks as if the rebel army had re- guns on Kennesaw, that something; 
treated Oxen. Sherman has outflank- new was in the wind. Very soon 
ed them again. Good bye, word was passed along the Ime that 

Your son ^^^^ rebel army had fallen back and 

CHAUNCBY. was retreating toward Atlanta. Our 

. • Gen. r,o.^^an with his l-".th corps, who 

__ had been on the alert for just this 

. move, made a sudden dash upon the 

Head Quarters. 2nd Brigade. In ,.gijgjg retreating lines and captured 
ten miles of Atlanta. 25th Regt.. Wis- ., f^^^^, prisoners. 

consin Vol. July Sth, 1S64. On the evening of the third our 

Dear father: I have just finishrtd Brigade, after advancing some miles 
a breakfast of sowbelly, hard tac.i ^^ j|^p right in the direction of heavy 
and black coffee, yes, and blackber- cannomding, went into camp for the 
ries. all the time waiting and e^^ect- ^^^-^^f ^pt far in the rear of the 
ing to hear the bugle call to fall in \)^^^■^Q jine, the smoke filling the val- 
and march to the suport of our boys ^^y ]|,^g ^ f^g 

on the extreme right, which the m q^ ^.j^^ morning of the 4th of July, 
cessant boom of cannon tells us there gfj^r drawing our allotment of ra- 
is a fight on to the death. tions of hard tack, sowbelly and cof- 

We have been hearing for days fp^ p^,r regiment marched out to the 
that the rebs are concentrating their j-j,pj,j. ^^ jjje support of a battery of 
forces at Nick a Jack, a creek on our fQ,,^ pieces that were tossing shell 
extreme right, where they are plan- j^to the woods just in front of us. 
ning to make a big fight against very soon the order came to erect 
Sherman's forces. temporary breastworks of rails and 

1 don't know what to say about the j^gg along the edge of the woods, 
way we passed the 4th of July in vvhere we stood to shield us from the 
Georgia. T put in a part of the time bullets that kept us dodging behind 
reading your old letters, and dream- fi,g trees. Here we were ordered to 
ing in a way of home. Rumors a ij^ down, if need be. to keep out of 
* plenty for two or three days had been t^e vviy of the bullets aimed at the 
talked that Sherman had outflanked ,i oyg on the front line some 40 rods 
Hardee and would soon move the in our front. It was terrible to be 
entire army ui)cn Atlanta 20 mi'es i'> sitting and lying down out of the 
the south. way of the bullets with no chance to 

On the evening of the 2nd of July shoot back, and we knew that the 
there came an order to be in readi- hoys in front of us were being mow- 
ness to march at a moment's notice, ed down like grass. We could see 
We packed up all our belonging.^, the wounded being (.arried back on 
tents and all else, and sat around or stretchers and we knew that the dead 
lay upon the ground expecting every were left where they fell. While the 


™ont wpTffli7 ""''"' r.- '" "'"■ '■*'"°^- "« '^^^ stretched out on his 
tront ue lay flat on our bellies while back, both arms extending straight 

Tr ZT^orrJr' ^^^.' ='"' ^'' °"^ ^^'^"^ ^^- body. 'lir was Kined^,?; 
n imUean a,^; t /^P^^^'^^, ^very a bayonet or minnie ball thrust thru 
V tie firing , ° f'^''"'"^; S"dden- his heart. His comrades had torn 

i^rJSi3£^ -- - i^vri3"Lt^: rs- 

rushed over to the firing mieU tas face ' ""' '"'"'"' '^'^ 

something to see the dead and Th p i . , 

wounded. Many of the boyg were Colonel has just called the 

crying like ichildren, running back ''^"^^'"^ ^^ his tent and of course it 

and forth without hats or guns and '"^j^"'^ ^ "^o^^. An orderly from bri- 

cursing the rebels for killing their f ^^ division commander has just 

comrades. The whole army seemed "^"^f '^ ^ '^it of paper to the colonel. 

to be turned into a mob. I never y, ^^ 10th— 12 o'clock noon. We 

saw such a mix up. If the rebels had ^^® marched 7 miles this forenoon 

known it they could have slaughter- ^^"^^^^ the left wing. Fearful hot 

ed us like sheep. No time to sey ^^^ ^^ ^ ^'°"^ °^ ^"st that near 

more. Love to all. strangles one. Just as I am writing, 

Your son ^'■^^ as I can see up and down the 

CHAUNCEY. ^^^'^' thousands of men are lying flat 

i . on their faces in fence corners under 

Camp near Rossville, Ga Head -V'^ ^■^^'^^'' ?^ ^''^^^' ^'"'"'"'^ buildings 
Quarters. 20th Regiment Wisconsin ''"".'" orchards; gome sleeping, all 
Vol.. .July 13th 1864 ^^'sconsin nesting or trying to rest. The road 

Dear Folks at Home: I enclose a clvalrv'^'* ^'"' ^^^^'""^ batteries or 
lot of leaves torn from mv water / 

soaked diary written morning, noon ,, '^* ^^ the bugle blew for the noon 
and night, just as I happened to have ^'* ^ ^'^"t to a near plantation for 
time. The pencil marks Sjiread out ^^'"^^^^ "'' '"''^- ^^^""^^ ^^'^re a lot of 
so much on the damp pai)er you ^^^'"^'^ a"'* children, but no men 
can't make it all out ^^^'^ ""^ ^^^y old man. The women 

July- 9th~ -After the rebel army re- f '' .^^^^'"ed to have Dabies. I suppose 
treated last night, and we got into I, ''" '"^" ^^^'"^ '" the rebel arm v. 
their trenches, we found that the- /, manner of the t)oys were a lit- 
had suffered a bigger loss than our '^/'""Sh and some of the women 
side. Blood stains along the breast ? scared. They threw them- 

works. the barked trees and plowed 1^^^^'^ "" the big broad porch 
earth works showed the work V , ^^ ^^ '^' they meant to cam|i 
of the eraue ;md n.nni.K.., ...• „!... f"'" the night. Wlien some of the 

said it was y miles. She had 


"hearn tell 'twas a good road but she 
had never been there." tho she was 
born in that neighborhood. Just to 
be saying something the boys asked 
a lot of questions a': out the rebel 
army. She said we would find out 
all about it 'fore we got across the 
Chatahooche river. 

July 11th — Yesterday afternoon our 
march to Marrietta was a fearful hot 
one. Many of the boys were sun 
struck and were picked up by the am- 
bulances. Soon as we got in town 
all made a rush that could, to the 
bakeries, and bought everything in 
sight. This morning a lot of the fel- 
lows have got the Kentucky quick 
step to pay for it. Marietta has been 
a nice town, but is all torn ^to pieces 
by the rebel army quartered here 
during the siege of Kennesaw moun- 
tain, only three miles away. Nobody 
in sight but women and children and 
they keep in hiding most of the time. 
The boys are packing for another hot 
day's march. Love to all, 

Your son, 


Marrietta Georgia July, 20, 1864. 
Division Hospitals 16 Army Corps. 
Dear Parents: 

You must not be scared at the head 
ing of this letter. I am in a field Hos- 
pital to be sure, but am feeling all 
right only a little weak. I was sent 
back down here last Friday witli 
three hundred others from Roswell. 

14 miles from here on our right wins, 
There is round a thousand young fel 
lows mostly like myself sent here to 
mend up. Sherman is massing the 
army around Atlanta and he don't 
want any soldiers in the ranks that 
are under the docter's care. 

The day after I wrote you the last 
letter we had a killing march in dust 
and heat that was terrible- We made 

15 miles and then forded the Chata- 
hootche river on a deep rapid. The 
current was so swift and the water so 
deep and rocky that lots of the boys 
fell flat on their bellies and almost 

drowned before their comrades could 
help them out. The bridges on the 
right for 50 miles had been burned by 
the retreating rebels and the right 
wing of our army was using all oir 
pontoon bridges, so we had to wade. 

I had no thot that I was to be sent 
back until the doctor told me Friday 
morning to report to Ambulance 
Head Quarters. There was about 40 
Ambulance and army wagons detailed 
to carry us back to this place. 

The night before we came there 
was a frightful storm and the light- 
ening struck a big oak tree about a 
hundred feet from where I lay killing 
10 boys of a Missouri regiment and 
shocking 8 others so badly that they 
were sent back along with the other 
sick to hospital tents with the rest of 
us at this place. 

Mother don't worry. I am not real 
sick, but more tired than anything 
else. My bowel trouble is the ailment 
again but in a few days as Menkes 
Bump says who is here, we will be 
better of that. I had got where my 
stomach turned against Hard Tack 
and pickled pork, the only stuff we 
bad to eat, so the doctor sent me 
back, as he told me with a smile, to 
get a rest- 

I ain't taking but mighty little medi- 
cine. The doctors come round every 
morning, feel of our pulse look at the 
tongue, and go on their way. After 
awhile the Steward happens along, 
asks our name, hands us a lot of 
|)owders which I tlirow away when 
I go out 1 ack, and this thing goes on 
every day. 

If I was real sick and helpless 1 
would have to take those powders 
just as the Doc directed, but being 
able to get about and wait on myself, 
like others in ray cl&ss, I am supposed 
to take them without the help of the 
nurse. I think every day of what 
father says about doctors and their 
pills doing as much harm as good and 
so 1 throw most of mine away. 

The doctor says I will be able to 
return to my regiment in a few days. 


Now, mother I have told you all just 
as it Is without any coloring. I have 
no cough from lungs as you feared- 
They are all right. Ain't anxious 
about anything but a letter from 
home. Our Chaplin Elder Harwood 
l>romlsed to see that my letters were 
forwarded to me. But I hear that our 
regiment and the corps have moved 
some 15 miles, so I can't expect very 
prompt returns from the regiment. 

The sun Is dreadfully hot but we 
are in the shade and don't mind it. 
There are a lot of refuges coming Into 
camp. They all tell the same story. 
They all are trying to get north as 
fast as the government can give them 

Well, father and mother, I sincerely 
hope all is well with you. I suppose 
Dora is with you. I imagine if I could 
be there in the flesh as I am In the 
spirit, and look down from one of 
the west hills, the bear mountain for 
instance, I should see father and Kit 
in the wheat field, mother perhaps In 
the garden digging potatoes for sup- 
per. Eva would be playing in the dirt 
close by or calling for a piece of pie, 
gazing by turns down the valley and 
ffhile Dora would be seen in the nortb 
room thru the glass door reading and 
sighing that it was so lonesome. 

Only 12 months more in the service 
of Uncle Sam, Hurrah, I am glad. 
Reports are in camp that -Atlanta is 
taken, nobody believes it. 

An old lady of the town visiting the 
hospital has just Invited me out to 
dinner tomorrow. Will tell you about 
it next letter. 
Love to all. Your son, 


Marrletta Georgia 9th Div. Hos- 
pital July 29th, 1S64. 
Dear folks at Home: 
I have been waiting hoping to hear 
from home before writing you again. 
Not a line have 1 nad since coniinj^ 
here which kind of puts a fellow a 
long way from home and a bit oft" 
his feed, in the dumps. 

Mensus Bump and his brother Johi 
of iMondovi are here from my com 
pany with me and we get togethe: 
and talk things over when time drags 
There is mighty little in this hospita 
lie to speak of. Its the same drear} 
thing day after day. The doctoi 
comes round every morning to »ei 
those too sick to walk, looks at thei] 
tongue, leaves some blue mass pili£ 
or a lot of powders. Those like my 
self able to wait on ourselves go tc 
his tent, he looks us over and gives 
us a lot of dope, then we go to our 
tents and lay round and sleep or tai;< 
about the folks at home or read over 
for the fifth or sixth time the last let- 

The wounded and sick are coming 
in daily and there must be five or 
six thousand here. Our commander 
has taken all the public halls and a 
lot of the finest dwellings for hospi- 

So many people from the country 
wh.te and black are coming into town 
and they are all women, to sell fruits 
and melons and pies and cakes, that 
the commander in charge has thrown 
a picket line round the town to keep 
them out. They won't take Confeder- 
ate money for their stuff. They seem 
to think the yankee shin plaster 
(government change) is safer than 
their own paper. 

One of my tent mates had an over 
feed of melon yesterday and had the 
cramps so bad they took him by the 
arms and legs and rolled him back 
and forth on a barrel to cure him. 

My new chum, an Iowa bov near 
my age, and 1 took dinner with a 
widow woman the other day. Her 
husband and son and daughter went 
away to Atlanta when the rebel army 
retreated two weeks ago from Ken- 
nesaw mountain thru here. She 
seemed to feel sorry for us and I am 
sure we felt sorry for her. She told 
us her daughter was engaged to mir- 
ry a lieutenant in the rebel armv, and 
ao she went with him. 


We had a nice chicken dinner, and 
when we went away she told us if 
the soldiers did not steal them she 
had three others under the house she 
intended to kill, and she would havo 
us come and help her eat them. 

The cook was a very hlack mamma 
as she called her, who also waited on 
the tahle. There was no stove in the 
house and the cooking was done in 
a .l3ig fire place in black kettles and 

T^e (black miamma's baby 'girl 
three years old wearing nothing but 
a short skirt scarcely reaching to its 
middle, played with some kittens in 
the next room. Two or three times 
she came to the half open door to 
gaze at the strangers and would 
reach out her little hand toward her 
mother without saying a word, as if 
begging for something. My frienl 
declared he never saw a white baby 
with half the good manners of that 
"nigger" baby. 

Yesterday when passing a rather 
pretty place a woman who was sit- 
ting on the porch along with two 
others, invited me to come un and 
sit down. They asked me a lot of 
questions about home and about 
northern people. Her little g'rl who 
was eating an orange went to her 
mother and whispered something to 
her. "yes" said the mother, "yoii 
may give the sick soldier some of 
your oranse if you want to." The lU- 
tle girl came to me with half ?n or- 
ange of course I took a part of it. 

It seems strange that you see none 
but women here- And it don't do a 
fellow any good if Tie is in a home- 
sick mood to talk with them 

Most of them not all of them hive 
got hearts. They have, all of them, 
lovers and fathers in the southern 
army and unless they have been 
made bitter, by loss of slaves or de- 
struction of property they feel a sort 
of svmpathy for us boys in blue. 

The steward is roming with our 
milk punch, I'll finish this to-morrow. 

July oOth. — Last night came the 
particulars of the battle of Decatur. 
It was something fierce. Our army 
was surprised- It came near being a 
complete route. Cannot write more 
this time, particulars next letter. 
Love to all, 


Field Hcspital 16th., corps, Mar- 
rietta, Ga., Aug. 4th, 1864. 

Dear father: Your awful good 

wise letter at hand, and one from 
Dora received to-day. I am writing 
this to you and Dora both, 1 am so 
glad things are all right in my dear 
old Wisconsin home. Oh, if you 
could but see the world as . it is 
going on about us here, how thank- 
ful you would be. 

This pretty little village and all 
the country round about has been 
overrun by both the rebel and the 
Union armies. Only the old men and 
children and the women are left of 
the people who live here. .411 the 
public buildings have been turned in- 
to Hospitals for our sick and wounded 
and some of the fields nearby are 
covered with tents which are fast 
filling up. 

I am glad you are done with your 
harvest. Talk about soldiers bein? 
heroes. If all mothers of soldiers 
have done as much work in the har- 
vest field as you say mother has done 
then the mothers are deserving o'. 
more praise than the sons, I wish 
she would not work so hard- She 
worries so much about me and never 
thinks of herself. If mother wants 
to save me from shedding tears she 
must save herself more. 

I am glad you saved the puppy 
from poison of the rattle snake. It 
is a wonder as you say that little 
Eva has not teen bitten. You can't 
be too careful. Yes tell Dora I would 
like well enough if I could be there 
to help eat sweet corn and speckled 
trout, and seems I can almost taste 
them away down here. It is pretty 


tough, but if our patience holds out 
we shall see better days when this 
campaign ends. If we can take At- 
lanta, which is 20 miles from here, 
now the strtngest fortified city in the 
South, we can march to the sea, and 
then good bye to the rebellion. 

Shall I tell you what is going 
on at the front, and in hearing dis- 
tance of six or seven thousand poor 
devils like myself mostly on their 
backs, and listening to the boom up- 
on bcom of cannon and wondering if 
it may mean a victory or a defeat for 
Bast night I heard such news that 
I could not sleep, and with the fiap of 
my tent thrown back so my three 
companions who lay near me could 
see we watched the flashes of light 
from our besieging cannon around 
At'.anta that lit up the darkened sky 
unt:l after nidnight before we went 
to sleep. 

The news that came to me last 
night made me shed bitter tears. My 
ch;im ar.d my next roll companion, 
and always my next beat comrade. 
both on picket and guard duty was 
killed in the fight at Becateur. He 
v/as shot ard killed instantly .ly a 
volley of rebel shots from the far 
side of the street during the sur- 
prise ani retreat of our forces, near 
vrhere McPherson our best General 
was killed. 

John was one of the best and 
bravest boys that ever lived. I thot 
t' I had inherited your courage 
("ather, all that any man s'^ou'd hav;\ 
not to be fcolhardA", but John Chris- 
ten wer.t beyond me. I wrote to you 
of his daring at K.ennesaw Mountain. 
Peer fellow he did not need to die 
there, he might have retreated, but 
he would not and a minne ball went 
crusbiixg thru his brain. 

(John W. Christen Post. Mondovil 
was named in Memory of him.) 

The fghting around Atlanta if we 
can believe unofficial reports is of 
the f.ercest kind. And it seems my 
regiment is in the midst of it rough 

and tumble. To-day we are getting 
repor's of heavy losses. Our Colonel 
was badly wounded and Lieutenant 
Colonel taken prisoner. We hear 
that Colonel Rusk killed two of his 
captors before surrendering. Several 
other officers of the 25th were killed 
and made prisoners, so the report is, 
but there is nothing as yet official. 
It seems our brigade repulsed every 
rebel charge- Our batteries were 
taken and again retaken. The re'bel 
soldiers it seems were crazed with 
g-:nrowder and whiskey given them 
to make them brave. They drew 
the?'r caps down over their eyes and 
rushed nron our batteries, to be mow- 
ed down with grape and cannister. 
The rebels were simply crazed. The 
rebel General Hardee was wounded 
Rnl taken prisoner and died in our 

Our splendid Gen. McPhersen was 
killed by a scouting party of rebels 
his body taken, and later taken by 
our boys. I hope what is left of our 
corps after this fight may be sent back 
to the Mississippi River, and join the 
main body, as only two divisions of 
our corps are here, and they are get- 
ting whittled down to brigades- 
Father. I suppose you are still in 
the haying business, and your hands 
are full. Did you cut the b.lue joint 
yet round the bear thicket? The 
grass there must be fine. Say I have 
just been telling that same old bear 
story to the boys, how I was treed 
by the biggest bear in Wisconsin 
how I fell from, the tree and would 
have been torn to pieces but for dear 
old Perick. who jumped into the 
bear's haunches and turned him 
away from eating me into fighting 
her. Father take good care of ths 
dear old slut, for I remember you 
said she saved my life. 

I suipose Kit and Sam make one 
whole hand in haying and maybe 
two at the ta;ble. How does grand- 
father prosper this hot weather" 
Does he still think Kit would be a 
better bov if he had more hickory 

oil put on his back. Grandfather is Gilmanton I don't think you knew 

severe Ijut he is pretty wise. him. He was a careless sort of a 

W.on't we have a picnic when I fellow in camp but as brave a l>oy as 

come home? My God how happy we ever drew a liead on a butternut 

boys are when we get to talkinf4- of We touched elaows in the fights at 

liome- Tell mother to shut her llosaca and Lost Mountain and I 

chickens up tight when she hears of know it took all the nerve I had to 

our coming. O, how hungry we are stand by his side, 

for mother's cooking. It makes my ^ is reuorted that the rebels lost 

mouth water when I remember that seventeen thousand men and our side 

Dora caught fifty three trout in two ^^^^^ thousand. Our boys claim 

hours hshmg. ^^^^ themselves buried three thous- 

I must quit writing. My nurse ^nd. (The official report later showed 

brot my dmner some time ago and il ^,,^3^ figures to overstate tlie real 

^^ :}.,l ^ loss of men by about half.) A hard 

\\ord has just come that our boys ^ 1,^ jg ^^ ^^ ^he moment of this 

are being driven back trom their ^.^.^ ^^ ^.^.^ 1,^^, ^he guns, and 

mes round .\tlanta. Nobody be- ^..^^^^^ ^^^ gathered round all the 

lieves it ^ ^ 

., ■ ^, . ^. ,,. , bead quarter tents to get the latest 

No more tins time Kiss my dear ^- -'orts 

mother for her boy CHAUNCEY. v- '^ * , > a * ^ 

2l_ '^^^>^^^^^>-'i- You bet I was glad yesterday to 

find on my bunk, two letters from 

Marrietta, Georgia, 4tb, IDiv. Hos. home- One had $2.00 in it for which 

Kith Army Corps, .Tuly ;]lst IStH 1 am mighty glad. One of the letters 

Dear Father: It was only day be- was dated .Inne :^Oth the other 

fore yesterday 1 sent my last letter, j^iy ytb. 

You see we don't have anything to i must give Warren and Kit the 

do but to listen to the roar of can- praise of writing first rate letters. I 

non about Atlanta, and write letters am sure thev do ibetter than I did at 

to friends at home. their age. 

The railroad bridge across tho Sorrv that father is discouraged 

Chatahoochee lias been rebuilt and about the crop. ,But never mind. If 

trains are passing thru here every you could but see this war cursed 

hour with troops for the front and jand, torn and raveged by fire and 

going back with wounded and sick, sword you would thank God with 

All the side tracks In this place have tears in your eyes that you lived in 

been loaded with cars of pork am- Wisconsin. 

munition and hard tack, waiting for When I think that my home is in a 

them to rebuild this bridge so as to land of peace and plenty. | can shut 

reach the main army. ,i,y eyes and go to sleep with a feel- 

Our regiment lost 2.5 men killed, ihg of comfort. But maybe it is not 

wounded and missing. Our company right with so much of suffering and 

lost the fewest of any. The entire horror going on about us. 

regiment was on picket duty an'! Father, vou are iierhaps acquainted 

were taken by surprise. The rebs with Gus Hensel of Trempealeau 

came suddenly upon them in big force County. He Is a recruit and a mem- 

and our boys fell back in disorder, ber of Co. F. of our regiment. He 

thru a piece of timber which served was wounded in the arm and is going 

as a cover for their retreat. home. 1 have asked him to see you. 

I can't forget that i>oor .Tohn Chris- The carrier has just thrown me a 

tian had to die. | know ibetter than 'ofer frcm 1 ora. It has just a few 

any other man in the company how lines but O. how good they read 

brave he was. Tho he enlisted from Every word she wrote is just like a 


picture- The way she can tell things 
makes me recall what I used to hear 
you say that Dora was your girl. 

>So you have been berry ng after 
hucklberries over at Cripps'. I never 
can forget the last time mother an'l 
I went over there after berries. 
Mother slept with Mrs. Cripps and I 
slept with Mr. Crrpps and Shub3 
Breed on the floor of their log house. 
It was in harvest and the mosquitoes 
were bad. Both Shube and Mr. 
Crips were in their shirt tails with- 
out any cover and they had a fearful 
time ■ smacking mosquitoes on each 
other- Then they would jump up 
and chase each other round the house 
like two great boys. Shube tried to 
clim'b a bur oak tree several times 
and Cripps would catch him by the 
leg and pull him down. It makes me 
laugh to this day to think of their 
monkey shines- Ah but weren't those 
days haiipy ones? 

The government owes me $200.00 
and if pay doy ever comes I will send 
you quite a sum. I don't need it 
here. Don't think for a minute we 
are in Atlanta yet. Every train from 
the north brings more big guns to 
use in battering the forts round At- 
lanta. Our hospital tents are to 
move nearer the mountain in the 
morning- Love to all and Wooster 
and Henry Amidon if you see them 
and to tell them to write. 


Marietta, Georgia, 4th Div. hos. 
August 20th, 1864. 
Dear ones at Home: I have been 
waiting all this time for something 
to write aibout. That is something 
new to write about. I could tell you 
of the red sky over Atlanta every 
night which we boys look at until we 
tall asleei). It is the light from burn 
ing l)nildings, set on fire by our cui- 

And the rain'bow streams of tire 
that follow the shells from forty or 
fifty big morters, night after night. 
It's the same thing. They say that 

most of the city is burned and the 
people are living in holes in the 

\ e hear every day that the City is 
about to surrender. The City is still 
lisb'ng- its newspaT^ers and making 
brags about how they are going to 
trap the Yankees. We don't know 
how they do it but we find papers 
from Atlanta laying around every 

I went out on the picket line yester- 
day to get some berries of the Freed- 
men who come as iar as the guards 
and sell their garden stuffs to the 
Union soldiers. They are stopped 
from coming within the lines. The 
regroes are grinning and happy, but 
the whites who are all women are a 
sorry ioking lot. They have lost all 
they hpd and they never had any 

n their heart they hate the Yankee 
soldier and they don't know why 
either. The most they can say when 
you ask them why their men aro 
fighting the north is that Lincoln 
wants them to marry the niggers 
when they are set free. 

Most of the whites are just as ig- 
norant as the slaves. You shut your 
eyes and you cannot tell by their 
talk which are the ^blacks. 

T have not seen a school house out- 
side the towns in all the south. The 
women we have seen in the towns 
seem to know more. The good wid- 
ow who has been giving the Iowa boy 
and myself dinners twice a week is 
a wise woman and a good one. Of 
course her heart ts with the south 
but she is so good to us I never think 
of her be'ng a rebel. My Iowa chum. 
Geo. Benning, won't go with me any 
more for dinner, because he says he 
is so sorry for the woman when she 
cries as she does when she speaks 
cf her daughter going away with the 
rebel Lieutenant. (Forty years after 
the civil war the "Soldier Boy" visit- 
ed Marietta on iiurpose to look up 
the kind hearted southern woman 
who had so touched his heart by her 


motherly pity, but no trace of her She sat in a ibig arm chair on the 

could he find. The house remained broad porch knitting some stockings, 

but its occupant Dr. Tennant, a I sat down on the steps. When F 

most Intelligent man too, could give looked up after reading the letter she 

the "Soldier Boy" no information of was crying. She said "you must 

the hopeless widow woman of civil have a good sister and how good it 

war times.) is that you lioys from the north can 

My health is still on the gain tho get letters from home while our poor 

1 am doing no duty as yet. If when I boys cannot write letters to their 

get my pay I get my furlough, would people at home nor receive any " 

you like to see me come home? 1 She said, "1 have not heard a word 

sometimes think I would not ake a from my daugliter who went to .\t- 

fUrlough if it was offered. Those lanta with her sweetheart, nor from 

shirts came in good play. They don't my husband for two months. I don't 

scratch a bit, and they are soft and know if they are living or dead." 

nice. Glad was I to hear the erops i suppose there are a thousand wo- 

are all secure. The horrible wrecks men in this town who feel just as 

of homes I see about here makes me she does. There seems to be three 

happy that all is well in Wisconsin, or more in nearly every house. 

Tell me how does Theodore Lock- i wrote father last week about the 

wood and his pretty sisters pros- surrender of Atlanta. Since then we 

per? I am sorry mother has to work have had further particulars. The 

so hard. Well I hope it is the last night before our shells blew up two 

time she has to work like a man in of their magazines and set fire to 

harvest. It is not right. the big depot and burned a lot of 

I am writing this by lamp light, their cars. For several days before 

Most of my chums are asleep and the surrender and even now we can 

snoring. The sky is very red over At- gee clouds of smoke hanging over the 

lanta 20 miles away, with burning city. Nearly the entire place is a 

buildings and the big morters, when burning ruin. 

a lot of them go off together, make it is just two years to-day since 

the ground tremble. , our regiment was mustered into the 

Give my regards to Uncle Ed. service. One more year will let us 

Cartwright, and love to all at home, out and less if the talk we hear of 

Your boy, OHAUNCEY. the confederacy having its back broke 

proves true, 

Marrietta Georgia, 4th Div. Hos. Day after tomorrow will be two 

September 10th, ISGl. months 1 am in this darned hospital. 

Dear sister: Your thrice welcome Expect to go to my regiment in a 

letter, so long looked for came last few days. A lot of the time here 1 

night, and the promised $2 came in have had the blues and still T am 

it. I was really needing the money among the lucky ones to get away at 

for little wants. )When you offer all. On the hill the other side the 

these Georgians their money they rail road hundreds of poor fellow^i 

smile sadly and shake their head, lay under little mounds newly made. 

Now that Atlanta has fallen into our They will never answer to bugal call 

hands they feel that the South will anymore and to them all troubles in 

be whipped and their money will be this world are over, 

worthless. Don't send any more money as we 

Your letter had a lot of good news are soon to draw pay and 1 shall 

and I went over to read it to my fos- have a sum to send home. Every- 

ter mother, that is the woman who body that can is going to Atlanta to 

has given me so many good meals, see the ruins. 


The natives are in hopes of finding East Point Georgia. 2'5 Wis. Regf. 
out something about their men who Sept. 13th, 1.'>B4. 

were in the rebel army. Some of the T3ear Folks at Home: 
women arn nearly craz\. Everybody Here I am at last, with (he denr 

rides in box cars or .attle " cars. °^'^ ''"^^ °"^« "^"''^- ^"^'" V^'" '"°"Ji'' 

„,, , ,, , away. I came yesterday alous with 

When the cars are full thty ol^mb on ,0^ ^f others on top of a stock car of 

top. mules. I put in the afternoon shak- 

Mv stomach is off (o •lav on a'^- ^^" hands with the boys and read- 
count of eating some sour milk. 1 '"g some of their letters and letting 
bot it last night of a tolorec! aunty Hiem read mine. 

on the picket line. This morning it 0"r regiment d'd not lose so many 

was sour. 1 scalded it but it upset '"en after all the reports we had 

me. of killed and woundert at Peach Tree 

A colored woman just came to the creek. The most of a change I see 

tent with my colthes she has been is in their dirty uniforms or no uni- 

washinir. She had a two bushel bask- forms. Many of them are wearing 

et full of clothes and carried it on rebel jackets and rebel hats some 

her head. She was a vellow woman wth no rims, some bareheaded, lots 

and the mother of six children. The of them with bandaged legs or arms, 

three oldest two girls and one boy and all feeling gooa. They say we 

had been sold to a coton planter in h?ve got the confederacy on the run 

Alabama . ^^ow sure and next spring will see 

One of the bovs asked her if she tbe war over. B't you can't tell, 

cared and she replied "shua honey ! The report cam.e to-day that a big 

loves my chilen just likes you mam- force had cut the railroad at Bu2- 

mv loves vou." T am sure the 1 oor ^.ard Roost and stopped our supply 

woman's heart was full, for her eye? trains, tut it may be a fake, we hear 

filled with tears. I thank God along so much. 

with father and Elder Morse that The railroad from. 'Marrietta to 

Lincoln has made them free. Sh'.' this place is lined with wrecks of 

said her children was nearly as cars and broken boxes and barrels, 

white as we. and that three of them and carcasses of cattle and horses, 
had a white father. To think tha» The road beds are worn out and 

these slave holders 'buy and sell eacli trains run slow. The south is badly 

others bastard children is horrible vr^^ked. At'anta was a fine city of 

She took us by the hand and bi I s'lre thirty thousand people, a great 

each of us good bye and aske 1 God rrV center. I don't think 1 saw fifty 

to bless us and our mothers. T see Ivndings standing when we came 

and hear things every day (hat make to this i)lace yesterday. The 

me think of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Klmbal Hotel, said to be one of the 

Word has come that we are to b<.' lest in the state, stood by itself, no 

ready to go to Atlanta tomorrow ov b''ildiug near it. Strpnge that t was 

next day. The boys are making a not b"rned like all the rest. It is 

rgeat hurrah about it. ' eing used for general headquarters. 

Direct to 20th regiment Wis. Voi. ?nd w?..s swarnvns RMth shoulder 

.\tlanta Go. Good ttye dear sister, straps. The big Cepot and great 

and as the wretched slave mother cotten warehouses covering acres of 

said to me. I say to you. God bless ground, are still b irning and smoiil- 

you and all the rest. . dering. 

Your brother. Thousands of Freed men are com- 

•CHAUNCEY, ing into our lines to go Chatanoo- 


g:a where they are being enlisted 
for the army. Lots of the boys that 
naturally dislike the blacks, treat 
them better now since they are to 
help us fight. 

I feel sorry for the poor humble 
creatures that bow and scrape and 
take off their hats every time you 
liass them. They are thankful to 
have even a kind look. They say 
"since Lincoln Mancipat'on, ol mas- 
snr and mistus is dreadful unkine." 
They are Utterly in rags for clothing. 
Many of them wear cast off uniforms 
from the rebels. T asked them where 
tbey got their clothes, and they said, 
"master and mistus done give um to 
us, but day done got so hard up da 
haint noffun fo dem selves no moa." 

We are cami)ed on a little branch, 
a creek, six miles from Atlanta. Tn 
a pine grove. We are on a pretty 
high bank and can look over quit a 
scope of country. The spring water 
is good and the air is fine to recruit 
in. It is a healthy i)lace for the big 
army to clean up and straighten up 
in for the big campaign that is ahead. 
Sherman says the next stop will be 
Savannah or Charleston on the sea. 
The army is being increased by 
recruits from the north, and every- 
day we have maneuvers to give the 
new fellows some practice. 

The doc says the boys many of 
them have a touch of scurvey and 
BO we get rations of sour kraut and 
boiled onions every day. I tell you 
sour kraut is good. .And T like on- 
ions. I am taking no more drugs, 
in fact 1 have never taken a quarte 
that was given me, and I sleep fine. 
We see no more fires along the hori- 
zon at night, no more blazing shells 
making rainbows against the sky, 
and the cannon which for three 
monlhs has not l)een still, night or 
day, are taking a rest. 

I am getting less anxious to go 
home as I get better. Hundreds, ye:; 
thousands are being furloughed home 
who are wounded or sick, and it may 
be I shall go too, I kind of like to 

think of it, and yet I hate to leave 
the boys until the campaign is over. 

There has not been a minute since 
getting here except at night that 
the air is not full of the music of 
fifes, drums or bugles. As I write 
the sun is just setting and I can hear 
a do'en liands from as ?nany brigade 

I hope to get a letter in the morn- 
ing. By the way we are to have 
r no her i)ayment in a day or two, a 
small one and will send you some ol 
it if T don't come home with it. 

Best regards to all enquiring 
friends. Your boy 


East Point Georgia, Hd. Quar. 
16th, Army Corps Sept. 16, 1861 

Dear Sister: Yours of Sept. 8th at 
hand. Bress de Lord for such good 
tidings from home. If father don't 
quit taking such chances with old 
mother bears with cubs, he will not 
come out so good, T am afraid. My 
liord how I would like to have seen 
old Prince in his battle with the 
cubs. Give the dear old dog a good 
hug for me and whisper something 
in his ear about the coons and beav- 
ers we used to catch. T hope the 
bear did not crush his jaw so bad 
after all, but it must be very bad if 
you have to feed him on mush and 
gruel. Feather must have felt that ' 
he was in close quarters or he would 
not have urged old Prince on so hard. 
Well father will have another good 
story to write that man wlio came 
ail the way from i>uinique to see 
fatbnr's bear dog. 

I am glad you enjoyed eating the 
cub, laltho the weather soon spoiled 
it. I would like mightily to have 
helped mother eat some of her new 
potatoes and squash. .lust tell her 
to eat my share and maybe it will do 
me as much good. 

No, I have not heard from cousin 
Ben and don't know wliere his regi- 
ment is located. He is in the caTa'ry 


and don't stay long in a place. They 
are always on the scout. Don't be 
too sure that I can come home as 
there seems to he a let up to fur- 
loughs for the time. At times I feel 
So strong when my pliaugy guts don't 
hother me for some days I feel like 
staying to the end. Then I have a 
pull back and I get to looking at t\x<^ 
north star of evenings and the thot 
of home away off there seems kind 
of good. 

Give my love to 'Mrs. Hulbert and 
tell her I thank her with all my 
heart for good advice about caring 
for myself. She is right I some- 
times eat things the good colored 
aunties bring to ui every dny r oi ■ 
not to eat. The doctors tell us sick 
boys we are nothing but suicides, 
because we eat melons and fruits 30 

t had a letter from .\unt Caroline 
ttarber the other day. Uncle .Toe is 
with (len. Smith as aide near Mem- 
phis, Tenn. 

He is sound as a bullet, she says. 
Nashville is being threatened by the 
rebels and Gen Thomas is collecting 
an army to stand them off. There is 
some talk that Sherman will send 
him a force, before we go farther 

1 had to stop writing this letter to 
pull off my under clothes to give to 
i\ colored woman who called for them 
to wiish. She went outside while mv 
chum and I stripiied off. T have a 
lot of gray backs on me. (body iicc 
since I left .Marrictta, and I told the 
old lady to scald them good. When 
1 told her this she sa'd. "Par now 
you hush honey, done you s|)oo/,e yu 
ole mammy kno/.e what ter du." Its 
the fashion for the whites down 
here to call the old ncgresses, mam- 
ray. This woman told us she was 
nurse for all hor missus and mas- 
sers chilen. 

The boys are making a great hur- 
rah a mile away. There must he 
f^ome good news. Will write again 

soon as something turns up. 

Love to all except that young fel- 
low ever the ridge. 

Your brother, 


Fast Point Georgia Se|)t. 23, 18tjl 
16th Army Corps. 

Dear mother: 

I have delayed writing you expect- 
ing every day to get a furlough. 
The boys have been going in squads 
of from ten to fifty every day. There 
is a great hurrah sending messages 
to fathers and mothers and sweet- 
hearts. Those tliat are able have to 
walk to Atlanta, »:x miles; mosi 
of them catch a ride in army wag- 
ons, that are coming and going with 
supplies. Fast as the trains are un- 
loaded of their provisions and mules 
from the north, the boys that are 
troing home pile into the empties un- 
til there is no more room and lots 
of them have to rirte on top far as 
Nashville, Tennessee, where the 
government furnshes coaches. 

I lielieve I am feeling tip top this 
morning. If 1 could be sure of my- 
self I should rather hate to go home, 
than otherwise. And with the Con- 
federacy just ready to give up. 
They are not putting up much fight 
just now, only talking big in their 
papers. There are a lot of rebel de- 
serters and stragglers coming into 
our lines, giving tliemselves up as 
prisoners ji:st to get iKiroled so they 
ran so home. They tell sorry tales 
of their hardships and of being 
starved, and they look it. Most of 
t''cm rane in. at the last call nearly 
all of them old men and young boys. 

I lielieve that Sherman is fearful 
that the rebels are gonig to attack 
our rear near Nashville. It is their 
only hope of stopping bis march to 
the sea. Severel l)flMadr8 are under 
order to march on sbort notice and 
the wise ones think it a goo<l guess 
that it will be a counter march to- 
ward Nashville. Every mail brings 


newte that scattering forces from messages for friends at home a .. 
Ala'ania, Mississippi and Georgia and ^-cis.erous fiarewells we started on 
ure centering toward Nasliville. Let ">'f three hundred mile journey to 
them do their liest we ain't much Nashville Tennessee, 
scared. It would please the boys ^ • li some hundred others it fell 
all right to get orders to go back to my lot to ride on the roof. As I 
north as far as Nashville, tho the ro:ail that trip, thru the Cumberland 
summer heat is over and we have mountains ail that long uight caain- 
less fear of sickness. I must lay 'i-fe at tae toot board, v, hen i fo ind 
aside this letter and go down to the myself failing asieep to save slipping 
creek helow our camp and take a tff and losing my blanket, visions of 
bath. The negro women some forty Llioss dsep canyons v.hose sheer 
or fifty who are doing the washing v. ^..s of jagged rock came to the 
for our brigade on the creek are .-w.. i am glad for the iumdreih tim^^ 
gone and its the only time, that is that i did not fal o.f with uiy 
in the evening, that we get la chance blanket. 

to bathe. The creek for miles is Many of the boys who had tied 
lined wtih tubs and kettles and tLe r arms to the foot boards no 
pounding blocks. The women begin doabt saving their l.ves thereby. The 
early m the morning so the clothes ^ext morning several of the boys 
can be washed and dried the same ,,ere reyorted missing, and that is 

^^' t ^^^ ^® ®^^^ heard ui them. Coming 

ep . ^ tn. Irom a handred regiments we were 

My papers came this morning and strangers to each other, and their 
you can just guesg that I am gLad. ,^,,^3 ^^ ^^j^' ^^^ l,„o^. 
nord has come also that rebel cav- ., - , , , 

elry has torn un the track and a ""^-" "^ ^°^^^ ^^^^ '^'^ reached 
force 'of our trco'ps are- on their way ^"^^shvule and . cilmDing down from 
to clean the rebels out and replace ^"^ ^°P °^ °"^ ^°^ ^^^' "^® '^'^^^ ^^^'^ 
the rails. As I may not be ab^e to ^° exchange Its discomforts for a 
get thru for a few days I win mail ^^®^^ ^°^^^ i^ ^^^ ZoLicoifer build- 
thls letter anyway, nd it wall reach -^°' ^ t>Ji.dii:g his.:ric in its uses by 
you rerl-aps before I do. the national goverumen;. Here we 

I shall come from Lia Crosse by rested under the ministering kind- 
toat to Alma, and I wish I could tell "^-^3 of w^omen nurses for 24 hours, 
the time so ycu could meet me there, --aking another step of a day in Chi- 
1 may write you again. Have no ^^^° ^"i^h an uncle, we reached Alma 
fear but I'll manage. '^y '^cat from La Crosse, thence to 
Your son in haste, Gilmaiiton to the home of Grandfath- 
OHAUNOEY. Gr Iv.arn who insisted on keep ng us 
P. S. When I reach Chicago, if I i^ l-cd for two days, with the prom- 
feel like it, I may stop a day or two is® to father that he would deliver 
wtih Uncle George. i^is without notice to or.r home six 
miles alove at the end of two days. 

As noted in the last letter our pasK- Our stay at hom.e was prolonged 
port or furlough, had been given us to three months, when we reported 
and three days after we were ordered at Madison Wis., for duty. In the 
by the captain to pack our knapsack irean time the linal battle In the 
and in company with several hundred Southwest had been fought and w^on 
others, some wounded, most of them t ear Nashville by General Pap 
like myself convalescent, we boarded The mas as he was aaectionately call- 
a train of box cars and with many ed, and Sherman had reached the 


sea with little or no resistance. The den. Lee on the banks of Apiiomattox 

war was rapidly hastening to a close and the war was over. 

Disorganized and fugitive, the rebel We were mustered out of service 

forces in North and South Carolina at Madison May 15, our nineteenth 

fled before Sherman's host like quails birthday, having served two years and 

before the storm. Then came the nine mlnths. 

master stroke of Gen. Grant against CHAUNCEY H. COOKE.